Thorntons turns to supermarkets to halt £37.5m slump
REVENUES at Thorntons slumped more than a quarter last year to £140m as new owner Ferrero sought to overhaul the chocolatier’s struggling stores and boost sales to supermarkets.
Losses almost doubled to £37.5m in the year to August 2017 as it racked up nearly £17m of writedowns and onerous lease charges and spent £1.6m shutting struggling shops.
Once seen as the leading chocolate brand on high streets, Thorntons has struggled with competition from upmarket rivals such as Hotel Chocolat.
Paul Wilkinson, who chaired Thorntons before its £111m acquisition in 2015, said Ferrero was using its financial firepower to slim down the chocolatier’s estate of 242 shops at the time of the takeover “to focus on building the supermarket business”. He added: “They’ve got too many sites in the wrong location and they’re paying too much for them.” A Ferrero spokesman said the results reflected consolidation of Thorntons’ wholesale arm with that of its new parent and investment in “reshaping areas of the business”.
Thorntons has seen its status as the leading high street chocolate brand challenged by Hotel Chocolat