Thorntons to close up to 180 stores

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  • Chocolate retailer Thorntons will shut 180 stores over the next three years to cope with challenging market conditions

    Thorntons has announced the closure of up to 180 stores UK-wide over the next three years as more doom and gloom hits the high street.

    Blaming ‘changing consumer shopping behaviour,’ chief executive Jonathan Hart admitted that the high street was suffering badly.

    ‘Our goal is to refocus the business across all channels and seek to deliver industry competitive returns over the next three to five years,’ he says.

    ‘Although we see the prospect of weakness in high street footfall and consumer sentiment continuing, I am confident that this strategy is right.’

    The closure of the stores is expected to cost the 100-year-old chocolate retailer from £4.2m to £4.8m, but Hart’s new strategy does hope to find a francisee to run stores that it intends to close where possible.

    The store closures at Thorntons mean that more than 10,000 UK retail workers have been hit with the threat of unemployment in the last week.

    On Monday, womenswear chain Jane Norman fell into administration, leaving its 1,600 staff facing an uncertain future.

    Similarly, discount department store chain TJ Hughes, which employs around 4,000 staff announced its decision to appoint an administrator, and furniture store Habitat reported that it was looking for a buyer for its 30 stores outside London.

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