Thorntons to close 180 stores and shift strategy

Thorntons’ marketing director Peter Wright is to leave the chain amid a shake up that will see it close 180 high street stores.


Wright will leave the chain on 1 July following a split in his marketing and retail responsibilities, as part of the strategy review revealed today (28 June).

The chocolatier is shifting its strategy towards franchise operations in a bid to reverse its sliding sales.

The retailer, which reported a 14% fall in sales in the three months to 30 April, says it wants to reduce its reliance on seasonal events such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter and “capitalise on Thorntons’ brand strength”.

It plans to grow its year round relevance by introducing new gifting ranges for occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and congratulations and introduce a new flagship boxed chocolate brand in 2012.

It will also improve its store merchandising and displays and its customer service.

Thorntons hopes the three year strategy will reposition the business and create a more “compelling commercial, franchise and online offering”.

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons’ CEO says: “Thorntons is a strong, trusted and highly valuable brand with excellent potential. Our goal is to refocus the business across all channels and seek to deliver industry competitive returns over the next three to five years. Although we see the prospect of weakness in High Street footfall and consumer sentiment continuing, I am confident that this strategy is right.”

Thorntons is the latest high street chain to cut store numbers. Entertainment group HMV is closing 60 stores and Mothercare recently revealed it would close 110 high street stores focus on out of town retail sites.

Fashion retailer Jane Norman fell into administration yesterday and its 90 stores ceased trading. Discount department store chain TJ Hughes is also expected to fall into administration this week.

Latest from Marketing Week

Influencers, consultancies and the recruitment crisis: The key topics of conversation at Cannes Lions

cannes lions

Cannes Lions 2018: Marketers turned out in force to advertising’s biggest annual event. But away from the usual talk of purpose and creativity, some big issues such as the recruitment crisis, how advertising responds to the #MeToo movement and cleaning up the influencer marketing space were discussed.


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here