Derbyshire-based Thorntons set to permanently close all its stores amid coronavirus pandemic
Thorntons has announced it is planning to shut all of its shops due to the ‘ongoing impact of Covid-19’.
In a statement, the historic chocolate company, which has a factory in Somercotes, said it had taken the ‘difficult decision’ to go into full consultation to start the ‘permanent closure of our retail store estate’ – thought to include 61 outlets.
It is understood a total of 603 workers are at risk of redundancy as a result of the plans.
The firm, which was founded in 1911, blamed the ‘changing dynamics’ of the high street, a rise in online sales and the ‘numerous lockdown restrictions’ over the last year – especially during key trading periods at Easter and Christmas.
In its statement, the firm said: “Like many companies, we have been operating for a long time in a tough and challenging retail environment.
“We have been committed to transforming and growing a successful Thorntons retail estate; this has included significant investments to open new format stores and cafés and ensuring we had stores in the right locations.
“Despite our best efforts we have taken the difficult decision to go into full consultation to start the permanent closure of our retail store estate.
“We understand that this will be an uncertain and concerning time for our colleagues and we will actively support them during this period.”
The statement added: “As customers continue to change the way they shop, we must change with them.
“We have seen a strong growth in Thorntons.co.uk and this will remain a key focus for us in continuing to provide you with your favourite Thorntons ranges, including our unique personalisation offering.
“In addition, we continue to invest in building our brand in grocery channels with our partners in order to meet the demand from you, our loyal customers.
“We remain committed to our iconic Thorntons brand and will continue to invest further in the future potential to ensure we evolve with the times.”
The firm was founded by Joseph Thorton in 1911, selling homemade sweets from a shop in Sheffield.
It has been owned by the Italian firm Ferrero since 2015.