Thorntons will permanently close all of its UK stores after more than a century of trading, the company has announced.
The company said its decision, which was now the subject of consultation with employees, would affect 603 workers but said it hoped to redeploy some of those affected.
Thorntons said it was based not only on the impact of COVID lockdowns over the past year but factors related to the pandemic across the retail sector.
After 110 years of creating chocolate, Thorntons said the ‘obstacles’ Covid-19 has brought on the high street are ‘too severe’ to survive. However, the retailer said it has seen sales surge online and will now invest in its grocery supply business as part of the company-wide shake-up.
Adam Goddard, the company’s retail director, said it was clear Thorntons had to “evolve”.
He said in a statement: “Changing dynamics of the high street, shifting customer behaviour to online, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the numerous lockdown restrictions over the last year – especially during our key trading periods at Easter and Christmas – has meant we have been trading in the most challenging circumstances.Advertisement
“Unfortunately like many others, the obstacles we have faced and will continue to face on the high street are too severe and despite our best efforts we have taken the difficult decision to permanently close our retail store estate.”
Thorntons, which has been owned by Italian firm Ferrero since 2015, said online sales would be a key part of its strategy after it witnessed a 71% increase in net sales via digital channels over the past year.
If the government hopes to save the ‘Hight Street’ it must look at both taxation and rates along with incentives