Jonathan Hart had been with the company for four years Reuters

Thorntons' chief executive is quitting the luxury chocolate maker following months of underperformance from the chocolate firm.

Jonathan Hart, who was at the helm for four years, will leave his post at the end of the company's financial year on 27 June to be replaced in the interim period by chief operating officer Barry Bloomer until a replacement is found.

The chocolatier released a brief statement from chairman Paul Wilkinson. "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."

The British company was forced to issue a pre-Christmas profit warning as supermarkets failed to stock up on Thorntons which caused the company's shares to drop by around 20% at the time.

A January trading update made matters worse for the company as it reported a 10.3% drop in sales over Christmas, while a strong performance over Easter and Valentine's Day was not enough to offset the damage from Mother's Day.