Sad news from Thorntons – 61 stores to close, 600 jobs at risk
Northern Ireland’s high streets will be diminished further by the loss of the fine chocolatier Thorntons stores. The UK-wide closure of all 61 stores was announced on March 15th. The retailer had recently opened a new flagship store and cafe in Belfast city centre’s Arthur Square – just as lockdown hit in March 2020.
Derry/Londonderry, Newtownards and Craigavon stores will also close.
The ‘changing dynamics’ of the high street has forced the hand of the company, which willnow focus its business online.
Retail director Adam Goddard laid the blame at the ongoing impact of coronavirus – with lockdown restrictions across its key sales periods – Christmas an dEaster.
“Unfortunately like many other retailers, the obstacles we have faced and will continue to face on the high street are too severe,” he said.
He said the company remains committed to the iconic Thorntons brand – but with losses of £35 million last year – taking total losses to over £100 million since being bought by Italian giant Ferrero in 2015.
Belfast Chamber’s Simon Hamilton said the loss was ‘a really sad story. Retail NI said it was a ‘sad loss to the Northern Ireland high street.
“Any town centre business that closes always results in a loss of footfall for surrounding traders.” said Glyn Roberts.