Thorntons issues profit warning

<p>Chocolatier Thorntons has seen shares slump 25 per cent after issuing a profit warning.</p>

Shares in chocolatier Thorntons took a significant hit after the company announced a profit warning.

Thorntons saw its share price open 23.04 per cent down on Tuesday (December 23rd) and has warned investors that annual profits will decline over the coming 12 months. The reasoning behind this slump in performance has been disappointing sales of Thorntons products in some supermarket chains.

It is not the best preparation for a company looking to boost sales during the traditionally busy Christmas period. Thorntons noted that while a drop in sales can be attributed to issues at its new depot in Derbyshire, there was also lower than expected sales in the run-up to Christmas. Officials explained that this is set to be reflected when the company's whole year profits are announced.

In a statement, Thorntons said: "The board now anticipates a decline in sales in the UK commercial channel [supermarkets] for the second quarter of the current financial year.

"The board now expects earnings for the full year to be below those achieved for the last financial year."

Thorntons' performance in 2014 is in stark contrast to just 12 months ago. A year ago the company posted a £7.5 million boost in pre-tax profits and in October this year is told its investor that it was expecting to make annual profits of almost £10 million for the 2014/15 year. This now seems a long time ago as 30p was wiped off the share price.

The chocolate was among a host of companies hit hard by the economic downturn in 2011. The retailer, along with other firms such as Black's Leisure and Barratt's, was forced to close to announce a raft of shop closures. The company announced in June 2011 that it was embarking on a strategic review of its business which shutting 180 stores during the following three years.

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