Thorntons to Close All its UK Stores

Thorntons is the latest major high street victim of the Government’s lockdowns, announcing the closure of its 61 stores. 600 jobs are likely to be lost as a result. The Guardian has the story.

The Thorntons brand will remain on offer in supermarkets and other retailers, while its factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire, will make more chocolate for international markets.

The 600 staff whose jobs are at risk will receive relocation support if they apply successfully for vacancies at Thorntons’ sites in Alfreton or Greenford in west London, the company said.

Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns have hit Thorntons particularly hard because they have occurred during its peak times, including Christmas and two consecutive Easters.

The closures will represent the latest departure of a longstanding high-street name. Thorntons blamed the changing dynamics of the high street and the shift to online retail, as well as the pandemic, for its decision.

Thorntons was already struggling before the pandemic. In the year to the end of August 2019 it reported a loss of £36 million, only a slight improvement from the £38 million loss the year before.

Joseph Thornton founded the company in Sheffield, using the slogan “Chocolate heaven since 1911”. It floated on the stock market in 1987, but has since struggled with competition from international rivals.

Thorntons was bought in 2015 by Ferrero, the Italian chocolate manufacturer, in a £112 million deal. At the time of the buyout Thorntons ran 242 stores in Britain and Ireland.

The chocolate retailer was clearly already struggling before 2020, but lockdown struck the final blow.

Worth reading in full.

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