Thorntons customers avoid high street and head online
Confectioner Thorntons has reported almost flat like-for-like growth of 0.5 per cent for the third quarter to £33.8 million as high street sales stagnated.
Overall, in the 14 weeks to April 19th, the company delivered sales growth of 8.5 per cent to £52.4 million, benefiting from strong direct sales.
Thorntons said sales in Thorntons direct, the company's online arm, grew 27.7 per cent to £2.2 million.
Data from retail analysts SPSL show Thorntons was a winner on the internet over the Easter holiday, with visits increasing by 137 per cent compared to the Easter week in 2007, and were 25 per cent higher than during Christmas 2007.
Chief executive Mike Davies said: "Thorntons has delivered sales growth for the sixth consecutive quarter.
"In line with other manufacturers and retailers, we have seen increased costs marginally ahead of our expectations. We are confident that we will deliver a satisfactory outcome for the full year."
Franchise sales grew by 12.6 per cent to £3.6 million, benefiting from the new stores opened in the first half of the current financial year, Thorntons said, while commercial sales grew 14.5 per cent to £12.8 million, driven by new seasonal product listings.