Thorntons like-for-like sales nudged up 0.7% in the fourth quarter.

Total revenue jumped 7.8% driven by soaring commercial sales which were up 45.4% in the nine weeks to June 30.

The retailer said the introduction of its summer ‘Best of British’ range, along with the timing of deliveries to its commercial customers, had stimulated the jump.

Like-for-likes for Thorntons’ full year to June 30 dipped 3.8% and total sales hit £217.1m. The retailer expects profit before tax, impairment and onerous lease charges to be in line with expectations.  Thorntons closed 53 stores, the majority of which were franchised, over the year.

Franchise sales declined by £0.9m over the fourth quarter, with the closure of Birthdays and Clintons Cards stores, where Thorntons had 46 franchises, hitting sales.

Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart said: “Although we are encouraged by this performance, the period contributes less than 12% to our annual sales and we continue to remain cautious about the outlook for the coming year.”

“Trading initiatives in our own stores, implemented since our strategic review, combined with new product launches have led to some improvement in underlying sales. We remain committed to our strategy of rebalancing our business, revitalising our brand and restoring profitability.”