Thorntons’ pre-tax profits have jumped to £5.6m

Thorntons has reported a substantial increase in annual profits – boosted by shop closures and strong growth in sales to supermarkets.

The confectioner said profit before tax and exceptional items rose to £5.6m for the year ending 29 June from £0.9m last year.

Group turnover increased 1.8% to £221.1m on the back of a 19% jump in fmcg sales, which include sales of Thorntons-branded chocolates to shops in the UK and abroad, as well as own-label sales.

International sales grew by more than 50% to £6.1m helped by increased sales to supermarket chains in Australia and South Africa. Own-label sales also jumped from £1.3m last year to £6.1m following a decision to re-enter the sector early in 2012.

Meanwhile, sales through Thorntons’ own shops fell 8% following the closure of 35 stores during the year. On a like-for-like basis, sales slipped 0.8%.

Thorntons’ online sales also fell 10% to £9m due to teething problems with the re-vamped e-commerce site at the end of 2012.

“We have made significant progress in transforming Thorntons over the past year and continue to successfully rebalance revenues towards the FMCG division. This is reflected in the recovery of our profitability,” said Thorntons CEO Jonathan Hart.