SOMERCOTES-based chocolate makers, Thorntons, is to close up to 180 stores over the next three years following a strategic review of its business.
The chocolate maker said a minimum of 120 of its 364 directly owned stores would shut, with a further 60 closures remaining a possibility.
It said it hoped to replace them with franchised stores in the ‘majority of locations.’
The company, which has 227 shops run by franchisees, has blamed a shortfall in high street demand for the closures, calling its current position ‘challenging’. It intends to ‘refocus’ its priorities on selling Thornton’s projects through other outlets.
Chief executive, Jonathon Hart, said: “Our goal is to refocus the business across all channels and seek to deliver competitive returns over the next three to five years. I am confident that this strategy is right.”