Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Thorntons Easter eggs failed to hatch

Thorntons revealed last month that it suffered disappointing trade in the key Easter period, with like-for-like shop sales down 4.6% in the 14 weeks to April 17th, greater than the 2.4% decline seen in the previous six months.
It already reduced its pre-tax profits guidance for the year to £7.5 million in April, but today's news means expectations will come down even lower.

Thorntons said it had "continued to experience a tough trading environment", with like-for-like sales declines in its stores and higher than anticipated discount costs on clearing excess stocks.

Thorntons was in trouble last year as we posted here. They had been trying to discount their way out the recession. Reducing profits but increasing turnover. Unless there is a very, very high and fast turnover like on foods or newspapers then this strategy is always high risk. Sales shot up but at the end Thorntons seemed surprised they hadn't made any money.

This time its just lower overall sales and the necessity a perishable trader has of moving stock by discounting before its sell by.

Retail news has been reported fairly positively recently but the deeper data to pick a winner isn't very convincing. M+S were celebrating £630 million profit. But in 2008 it was over a billion. French Connection were up 1.9% which is marginal on their poor 2009 figs. Mothercare announced excellent sales figs up 21.4% but that includes over a hundreds new store openings. Like for like sales are up just a respectable 3%.

Nothing very exciting anywhere.

4 comments:

Nick Drew said...

tell me where they sell those choc keyboards and I'll do something for their turnover

James Higham said...

And it will be vastly less exciting in three months.

Electro-Kevin said...

I wonder how well Hotel Chocolate did by comparison. Thorntons have serious competition in Exeter - perhaps the same is so elsewhere.

EVERY occasion warrants Hotel Chocolate in our household - Easter or not. Try it and you'll see why.

The Lakelander said...

E-K is right.

Mr Thirlwell is also launching a rather clever corporate bond scheme where the "interest" is paid to bondholders in chocolate.

Dr Lakelander has been dropping some hints as to how the rate compares to 0.5% available from the bank.