Chocolates specialist Thorntons has posted a fall in full-year profits despite making market share gains.

While sales of Thorntons-branded goods rose by 4.7% last year and market share reached 7%, retail turnover was hit as consumers bought the retailer’s products elsewhere.

Profit before tax fell 2.4% to £6.1m in the year to June 26, on flat sales of £214.6m. Retail sales slipped 3.7% to £152m and own-store sales declined 3.6% to £129.8m. Like-for-likes dropped 3.5% over the year.

Chairman Jon von Spreckelsen said business changes being made should help trading. He said: “The key challenge continues to be the own-stores channel. Since the year-end, trading in what is traditionally a quieter period has been in line with our expectations.

“We have strengthened our senior retail management team and we believe that this, together with extensive product innovation and changes to the promotional and marketing programmes, should have a positive impact on trading in the lead up to Christmas.”

The retailer is seeking a new chief executive to replace Mike Davies, who will leave at the end of this month. Von Spreckelsen said the search is well advanced.