Thorn­tons turns to su­per­mar­kets to halt £37.5m slump

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Jack Tor­rance and Oliver Gill

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

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