By Daniel Hunter

Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart has resigned after a tough few months for the chocolate retailer.

Thorntons issued a profit warning before Christmas and has seen supermarket sales fall in the months since.

Mr Hart will leave his post when the company's financial year ends on 27 June. Barry Bloomer, Thorntons’ chief operating officer, will take on his duties while a replacement is found.

Jonathan Hart joined Thorntons in 2011 from Caffe Nero. It reorganised the business, focusing more on sales from supermarkets rather than its own stores. He closed around 120 Thorntons stores in order to cut costs. And there were signs that the strategy was working with a 60% rise in profits in September - however it was as a result of reduced costs, rather than higher sales.

Thorntons then issued a profit warning in December, two days before Christmas in fact. And in March, it reported a 10% drop in profits and 8% in revenues.

Paul Wilkinson, Thorntons’ chairman, said: “Over the past four years Jonathan has turned around our retail business, as well as creating and delivering the vision and strategy that will serve as the platform for the continued transformation of Thorntons into an international consumer goods business. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Jonathan for his significant contribution and wish him well for the future.”