Third-party sales are more encouraging
Thorntons' own-store sales suffered but were offset by franchise and third-party sales growth for the 52 weeks to June 25.

The confectioner said its sales fell over the period by 2 per cent to£143.1 million and like-for-likes decreased by 0.7 per cent, a performance the retailer called encouraging, given the difficult trading conditions.

In contrast, branded product sales were up by 123 per cent to£22 million. Franchise sales increased by 4.2 per cent to£13.4 million.

Thorntons chairman Christopher Burnett said: 'An overall increase in sales of 5 per cent and a decline of less than 1 per cent in like-for-like sales through our own shops is encouraging in a difficult trading environment. From a relatively small base, the sales of Thorntons branded products through other retailers more than doubled. This sales outcome means that our performance for the year should be in line with market expectations.'