Iconic British chocolatier, Thorntons, has announced that it is permanently closing all its 61 UK stores, putting 603 jobs at risk.
Bosses at the retail chain blamed the impact of coronavirus lockdowns as they announced the news on Monday March 15, in what they said was a ‘difficult’ move amid ‘changing dynamics’ on the high street. The company has been crafting chocolates since 1911.
The company, which is based from headquarters in Alfreton, Derbyshire, said it remains committed to the much-loved brand and hopes to grow its customer base online. A spokesperson commented:
“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 cafes and ensuring we had stores in the right locations.
“However, 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 operating in the most challenging circumstances.
“Unfortunately like many other retailers, the obstacles we have faced and will continue to face on the high street are too severe. 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.
“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.”