Thorntons' profits fall sharply after weak ChristmasContinue reading the main story
Half-year profits at chocolate maker Thorntons have fallen sharply after poor trading and high exceptional charges.
Profit before tax for the 28 weeks to 7 January was £3.1m compared with £8.4m for the same period last year.
But after stripping out £2.4m of exceptional items, including "onerous leases", profits fell to £618,000.
The company had already warned that sales over the key Christmas trading period had been below expectations.
Despite the fall in profits, the company's shares were trading 18% higher at lunchtime at 19p.
Sales, taking account of changes in the number of stores, were down by 5.5%, worse than the 5.2% drop seen between 2010 and 2011.
In June last year, Thorntons had announced it would close 120 stores, and in its latest statement the firm said the closure programme was "on track".
In addition, it is considering closing an additional 60 outlets, to leave it with between 180 and 200 owned-stores.
Thorntons said it had improved its profit margin and market share, and the company's chief executive, Jonathan Hart, said the the company had "made good progress while weathering a difficult market".