CONFECTIONERY maker and retailer Thorntons said that sales of Easter eggs had fallen, prompting it to cut full-year profit forecasts. Thorntons, of Alfreton, Derbyshire, sells about 1.6 million eggs during the three-week Easter period, which represents ten per cent of annual sales. But yesterday the company warned that Easter was becoming less of a celebration than other occasions, such as Christmas, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. As a result of the slump, and the weaker outlook for the retail sector, Thorntons cut its profit forecast to £7.1m.

ANNUITY FALL: Annuities, which convert a lump sum into a pension, have fallen by nearly three per cent during the past six months, following a ten per cent reduction last year. A £10,000 payment will now buy an average income of only £561 a year for a man retiring at 60.

Record recovery: EMI returned to the black with annual profits of £319.3m, despite worse than expected conditions in the recorded music market. The company, home to stars including Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams, said sales of recorded music fell 12.6 per cent to £1.8bn in the year to March 31.

Whisky galore: Whisky distiller Glenmorangie is confident of developing longer-term sales and profits after a strong performance from its malt brands in the past year, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg and Glen Moray. Sales rose 10 per cent to £64.6 million in the year to March 31 with pre-tax profits hitting £8.9m