Thorntons has posted a slight loss for the past year, blaming “onerous lease charges” related to store closures and other restructuring costs.

The chocolate maker reported a £253,000 loss for the year to 25 June as costs linked to the implementation of its strategic review dragged down its performance.

Over the next three years the retailer, which is celebrating its centenary this year, plans to close around 120 stores – and is exploring opportunities to close a further 60 over the same period.

It plans to find franchisees to take on many of those locations and free up resources to expand commercial sales to supermarkets.

While total sales increased only 1.7% to £218.3m over the past year, sales in the commercial channel surged by 25.9% to £78.8m.

Investec analyst David Jeary said the profit figures came in at the top range of its expectations but warned that “much now depends on the successful implementation of the strategic review”.

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