Thorntons’ poor third quarter resulted from the competitive environment and a structural shift from the high street as well as the warm Easter weather, City analysts said.

The chocolatier reported that own-store like-for-likes fell 12.6% in the 16 weeks to April 30, and total own-store revenues were down 13.9% to £31.4m. It blamed the hot weather for a poor Easter.

Thorntons warned that pre-tax profits for the year to June 25 would come in at between £3m and £4.5m. Previously, £6.1m was expected.

FinnCap analyst David Stoddart said the warm Easter weather appeared to have been the main reason for the weak update.

However, Thorntons remained “heavily exposed to a high street market that we regard as structurally challenged”, he cautioned.

Espirito Santo analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi said: “We think that the competitive environment and structural shift away from the high street were also factors [in the poor performance] given that commercial sales to supermarkets were up 25.1%.”