Thorntons first-half pre-tax profit jumps on higher commercial sales

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CHOCOLATE group Thorntons, which has been struggling with lower demand, reported a 71 per cent rise in pre-tax profit for the first half on higher commercial sales.

Consumers have been reluctant to loosen their purse strings in the face of rising prices, subdued wage growth and high unemployment, prompting Thorntons to close its high street stores and focus on its online business.

Sales rose 3 per cent to £133.7m in the 28 weeks ended January 12. Sales in the commercial UK channel rose 16 per cent to £51.8m.

Pre-tax profit before exceptional items rose to £5.3m from £3.1m pounds a year earlier.

Thorntons, which had cancelled dividend last year, said there will be no interim dividend.

Derbyshire-based Thorntons, founded by Joseph William Thornton in 1911, closed 13 stores in the first half.

Thorntons’ shares, which have more than doubled since June, closed at 42.375 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Friday.