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Another retail casualty

Thorntons shuts 61 shops as Home Bargains expands

Shut: Thorntons in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (pic: Terry Murden)

Chocolate retailer Thorntons is permanently shutting all its 61 stores with the loss of 603 jobs.

One of the UK’s long-standing high street brands said it had been suffering from falling sales even before the pandemic which has finally forced closure of its shops.

Adam Goddard, retail director at Thorntons, said: “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 trading in the most challenging circumstances.”

The 110-year-old chocolatier has racked up more that £130m in losses since Italian confectionery group Ferrero acquired the company in 2015.

Mr Goddard added: “Unfortunately like many others, the obstacles we have faced and will continue to face on the high street are too severe and despite our best efforts we have taken the difficult decision to permanently close our retail store estate.

Thorntons, which was founded in Sheffield in 1911, said it has seen sales surge online and will invest in its grocery supply business as part of the shake-up of its operations.  

Thorntons is the latest chain facing closures due to Covid after Britain’s high streets suffered immeasurable losses during lockdown.  

Home Bargains creates 66 jobs

Better news for the retail sector is that Home Bargains has invested approximately £500,000 in a new store in Edinburgh. 

As one of the UK’s largest family-run retailers, Home Bargains is creating 66 jobs at Hermiston Gait Retail Park. In total, the store will employ 70 staff, including some who will be transferring from other stores.

The company has more than 500 outlets across the UK and has been opening 50 a year.

The 14,995 sq ft Edinburgh store is housed in a unit formerly occupied by Office Outlet.

Shop closures

More than 1,200 chain stores closed in Scotland in 2020, with just 612 openings, continuing a trend that has developed across high streets in recent years, leading to 14% fewer stores compared to 2016 as shoppers migrate to online shopping.

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