Thorntons confident for full year despite Q1 sales dip
Sales have slipped in the first quarter at Thorntons but the listed chocolatier is on track to hit profit expectations this year.
The 11.9 per cent dip in the 14 weeks to 4 October 2014 were the result of timing of orders in the UK commercial channel causing "fluctuations" in its interim reporting as it changes into a FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) company.
The Alfreton-based company expected this to be reversed in the second quarter with year-on-year commercial sales growth in the first half.
Thorntons board said the retailer would perform in line with market expectations for the full year with pre-exceptional profit before tax to be just less than £10m – up from £7.5m.
Chief executive Jonathan Hart said: "We remain confident of improving EBIT margin further and maintaining positive profit growth for the full year, in line with market expectations driven by strong annual sales growth in our UK commercial channel.
"As we said in September, we anticipated that sales for this quarter would be below last year as a result of the increasingly fluctuating order patterns in our UK commercial channel.
"These fluctuations will become more significant within the context of the company's performance as we continue to grow our FMCG business making quarterly comparisons less meaningful. As we demonstrated last year, these variances do not necessarily affect overall annual performance."
He added Thorntons continued to make good progress with its strategy of rebalancing the business and had "exciting plans" in place for the key Christmas season.