Easter sales at Thorntons were down by more than a fifth from last year thanks to the recent hot weather.

Like-for-like sales in the key Easter period were down 22.8%, the confectioner said today.

That prompted Thorntons to warn that its profits for the year would be down on last year's mark of £6.1m, forecasting earnings of between £3m and £4.5m for the most recent 12-month period.

Total sales for the three months to 30 April fell 0.7% to £64.2m, with own-store sales down continuing their slide – down 12.6% on a like-for-like basis. By contrast, commercial sales for the quarter grew by 25% to £27.7m.

“The past quarter has been extremely challenging particularly in our own stores and for franchisees,” said chief executive Jonathan Hart.

“We have taken a number of actions including adjusting our trading strategy and aggressively managing our overhead costs, as well as ensuring that our production is geared to likely demand.

“Additionally, we took steps to ensure that our ice cream was available in more stores than last year ahead of the Easter trading period. However, these significant additional sales were insufficient to offset the impact of the weather on those of our core chocolate items.”

Hart added: “The process of my strategic review [of the business] is well under way and I look forward to presenting my conclusions in due course.”

Read more
Hottest Easter since records began puts eggs in meltdown (30 April 2011)
Thorntons bid to ‘put spark back in chocs’ (19 February 2011)
Sales up but Thorntons could close stores this year (14 January 2011)