CHOCOLATE retailer Thorntons said it will fail to hit profits target after poor weather and disappointing Easter sales at its high street stores.

The group, which has a store at the Piazza in Huddersfield, said like-for-like shop sales fell by 4.6% in the 14 weeks to April 17. That compares with a 2.4% decline in the previous months.

Sales at supermarkets rose by 33.9% to £20.8m while online revenues were up by 32.4% at £2.5m. But own-store sales slipped by 4.9% to £33.5m.

The company said it was taking a “cautious view” on the outlook for the remainder of the financial year, particularly as consumers remain focused on value in the uncertain economic environment.

Shares slumped by 12% or 14.75p to 110.25p after Thorntons reduced its pre-tax profits guidance for the year to £7.5m against City forecasts of about £8.9m.