10 October 2012 10:50
Chocolate firm Thorntons has said that it remains confident in the face of "weak and difficult to predict" conditions.
In the first quarter, including the 14 weeks to October 6th, the company saw total sales drop 1.6%, primarily due to the effect of the planned 36 store closures in the previous financial year. The company added that this was in line with expectations.
Meanwhile, sales at its Thorntons Direct division decreased by £0.1m to £1.1 million ahead of the launch of the firm's new website.
Jonathan Hart, Thorntons' chief executive, commented: "Consumer spending and the wider economy remain weak and difficult to predict. We are therefore cautious in our outlook for the peak trading season ahead and have set our plans accordingly.
"We continue to have confidence in our strategy to rebalance our business, revitalise our brand and restore profitability and are making good progress in its implementation. In our retail business our plans are stronger than last year, with innovative new products and dynamic promotions, and in the commercial channel we remain encouraged by our strong order book.
"We continue to focus on improving profitability and are pleased that the margin improvements seen earlier in 2012 are continuing to flow through."