Thorntons this morning issued a profits warning, blaming high promotional activity and weak consumer spending.
"Following continued weakness in consumer sentiment and high levels of promotional activity in the market place, the board now considers profits for its full year will fall short of current expectations," Thorntons said in the brief statement.
Following the warning, the company's shares plummeted to 28p -- a drop of 26 per cent.
The chocolate chain predicted it will break even in the 53 weeks to the end of June, although that figure excludes exceptional items and onerous leasing charges.
The company, is in the middle of a strategic review of the business, will issue another trading update on 12 January 2012.