Thorntons to permanently close all UK shops, putting 600 jobs at risk
Chocolate retailer Thorntons has announced its plans to permanently close all shops, which will affect its 603 workers.
The retailer said its decision is currently the subject of consultation with employees, and hopes to redeploy some of those affected.
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.
A statement said: "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.
“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 has been owned by Italian firm Ferrero since 2015.
The company’s online sales would be a key part of its strategy after it recorded a 71 per cent rise in ecommerce sales in the last year.
The statement continued: "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.
"We would like to thank you for your continued support."
The Wakefield shop closed its doors for the final time on June 22, 2019.