Thorntons to close two-thirds of stores in next three years

Thorntons will close two-thirds of its 179 stores over the next three years, the high street confectioner has said, while announced a 1.7% increase in revenue.

The company has announced that it will close the stores as their leases expire over the coming years as part of its cost cutting plans, while releasing its preliminary results for the first six months of 201, growing revenue to £218.3m.

The closure of the stores, alongside the outsourcing of its distribution and warehousing function over the next six years, will aim to lead to ‘the creation of a profitable and sustainable Own Store channel’ of around 180 stores.

While it plans to close these stores, the company has announced that it plans to open franchise businesses in the many of the same locations instead.

It was also announced that pre-tax profit was down however, to £4.3m from £6.9m over the same period last year, although the company has driven its net debt down to £24.5m too.

Thorntons also revealed that its branded products grew to 7.7% of market share, an increase of 0.3% on last year. ~

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons' chief executive, said: "In the year that marks the Centenary of Thorntons, I am pleased to report record overall sales, despite the challenging retail environment. This highlights the strength of our multi-channel strategy, as well as that of the Thorntons brand, with sales of branded products rising by 2.2%. Commercial sales have grown by an impressive 25.9% over the full year and we are encouraged by our forward orders for Christmas 2011.

"As announced at the time of our strategic review, our goal over the next three years is to rebalance the business and to create a profitable and sustainable retail estate. While we expect to see the weakness in High Street footfall and consumer spending to continue through 2012, we are confident that this strategy is right for the Company," Hart added.

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