Just a year ago, Thorntons was having a hard time. In its half-year results to 7 January, 2012, it made just £618,000 profit, compared with £8.3m in the same period the year before. It had to cancel its interim dividend and start concocting plans for a turnaround.
But now the firm seems to have got the mix just right, with a period of great sales buoyed by Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day. It said that profit before tax in the full year to the end of June 2013 would be significantly ahead of the current market expectation of £3.1m.
So what else has been going on in the business to get back on an even keel? Relatively new CEO Jonathan Hart has closed 36 stores to reduce overheads, and plans to close a total of 180. Reducing that expensive premises cost base has certainly freed up some cash.
In a statement, the firm refrained from getting too excited about what appears to be a revival of fortunes: ‘We remain cautious of the prevailing economy and its continuing impact on consumer expenditure.
‘We will continue to work through the detail of the recent trading period and will provide further information in our Q3 IMS currently scheduled for Wednesday 24 April 2013.’ We await the official figures with interest.
To look a little deeper into the numbers, the firm also said that it increased its total revenues for the six months to 12 January 2013 to £133.7m, partly helped by increasing sales of its products through other shops such as supermarkets and convenience stores, instead of just its own high street retail outlets.
Looks like Thorntons dark (chocolate) days may be over.