Thornton warning

Thorntons has warned that its earnings will fall this year after seeing reduced demand from some supermarkets in the run-up to Christmas
Thorntons has warned that its earnings will fall this year after seeing reduced demand from some supermarkets in the run-up to Christmas

Chocolate-maker Thorntons saw shares fall by more than a quarter as it issued a profits warning in the middle of the crucial Christmas trading period.

The Derbyshire-based retailer, which has 249 stores, said full-year earnings will be lower than last year due to weaker supermarket demand.

It also blamed teething problems at a new centralised warehouse in Derbyshire which opened in the autumn but has resulted in lost and late sales.

Shares slumped by as much as 27 per cent as the warning delivered a setback to the company’s continuing turnaround strategy.

Thorntons has relied on more sales through its commercial channels such as supermarkets as it ends a three-year plan that has seen it close dozens of its own stores.