Thorntons has issued a profits warning after the crucial Easter trading period failed to live up to hopes.
The confectionery specialist cut its full-year profit expectation to about £7.5m compared with about £9m previously expected by the City.
Thorntons posted a 3.1% rise in group sales to £60.3m during its third quarter to April 17. However, own-store sales slid 4.9% to £33.5m and like-for-likes fell 4.6%.
The fall was partly the result of a switch of revenue away from Thorntons’ own shops and franchise stores into other channels, particularly sales of its product through retailers such as supermarkets - categorised as commercial sales by Thorntons and up 33.9% to £20.8m. Direct sales rose 32.4% to £2.5m.
Execution Noble analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi said: “The reality is that if Thorntons did not sell through the supermarkets it would be unlikely to pick up these sales in stores - the structural shift from the high street continues and this is a trend that is exacerbated when times are tougher.”