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Thorntons melts as retailers offer little Christmas cheer
by Kiran Moodley on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:58
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) had said the pre-Christmas rush helped to boost UK retail sales in the final quarter. Of course, this was not the consensus across the board, and while on a like-for-like basis sales grew by 2.2% in December compared to 2010, that year was hampered by the snow storm that inflicted much of the UK.
For many, a Christmas boost was not enough to improve either the yearly performance or sentiment looking ahead to a difficult 2012.
Overall sales for the company (Thorntons Group, which includes Thorntons stores, Thorntons Direct and sales at supermarkets) grew 0.6% to £83.7 million for the 14 weeks to 7 January, equalling first half sales of £130.2 million, which is still down 2.5% year on year.
Like-for-like sales at its own stores were however down by 4.2% in the 14 weeks to 7 January.
Shares in Thorntons plunged 15.8% to stand at 11.89p.
The firm, which has 470 stores and 250 auto-centres in the UK and Ireland, revealed that revenue was down 2.1% in the final 13 weeks. Total retail revenue fell 4.4% year on year, while car maintenance was affected by the unseasonably warm weather leading to a 12.8% decline in the final 13 weeks of 2011.
However, cycling like-for-like revenue increased by 15.1% in the 13 weeks to December 30.
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