Thorntons is selling more chocolate through other retailers than its own stores for the first time.
This week, the chocolatier reported a 10% increase in sales through supermarkets and other retailers to £27.4m, and a 4% drop in its own retail sales to £26m in the 14 weeks to 20 April. Total sales rose 4% to £60.6m.
Thorntons has shut 24 stores over the past year as it makes the transition from a retailer to a supplier with a retail estate.
It has earmarked another 110 to 130 stores of its remaining 309 stores for closure.
“We’re pleased to be delivering another strong set of results that evidences the strategy playing out before our eyes and the progress we’ve made,” said Thorntons CEO Jonathan Hart.
With retail sales set to decline further as stores close, Hart said there was still plenty of opportunity to grow sales at other retailers. Easter and Christmas remained “relatively underexploited”, he said, and there was scope to increase the breadth and depth of listings, particularly in the convenience sector.
Thorntons is also recruiting more people in sales and category management to drive increased commercial sales.