Thorntons signs more choc deals

Thorntons chief executive Peter Burdon expects profit from the sale of the confectioner's product through other retailers to be more than that from its own shops within five years.

The retailer is bolstering its supply business and has struck deals with another four undisclosed store groups to stock a Thorntons range.

Tesco, Sainsbury's, Safeway, Asda, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer already carry a Thorntons offer. The retailer is also in discussions with off-licences and convenience stores to house Thorntons product.

Burdon said: 'Our initial success has confirmed that there is a strong desire by consumers to purchase our products in other outlets, but there is also an appetite among trade customers to list them, because it helps to enhance the profile and profitability of their confectionery sales.'

Thorntons will rationalise its portfolio slightly over the next three years and is likely to slim down from 389 shops at present to about 375.

Burdon also aims to open a further 10 Cafe Thornton stores, following the success of the first five shops in factory outlet centres.

The retailer announced a 2 per cent increase in turnover to£167.1 million for the year to June 28. Profit before tax fell by 9.9 per cent to£6.4 million, a drop blamed on the summer heatwave and a poor Easter.