Deathwatch: Are Thorntons about to be gobbled up by the current economic climate

retail deathwatch If you or a loved one is a fan of receiving Thorntons chocolates at Christmas, this could be the last year that they get to wrap their gums around their milky, sugary treats. That’s because the company have issued a profit warning, in spite of the fact that they’re in the process of closing loss-making stores.

In September they announced a loss of £253,000 for the year to 25th June 2011, not good when compared to a £4.4m profit the year before, even though making lease payments on closed stores was cited as one of the reasons for the losses. They’re saying that they’ll ‘break even’ in the 53 weeks to 30th June 2012, but you never know – things are likely to get worser rather than betterer for them (yes, they ARE words) given the ‘current economic climate’.

Will Thorntons make it through the financial maelstrom that we’re living in at the moment or are they on the critical list, just like HMV and Blacks. Of course, there’s always the possibility that a carefully-timed profit warning is a guarantee of news coverage and it’s Christmas in four days time and you know, there’s no such thing as bad publicity and hmmm, eh?


  • ayla
    I don't see them lasting another year. Their big mistake was filling up the supermarkets with Thorntons items, then allowing them to be heavily reduced. Next thing they're in B+M Bargains. I've no problem with this, but when they then claimed that Hotel Chocolat was their 'biggest competitor' I wondered why they still thought of themselves as an upmarket brand; you can't claim that upmarket position when your big boxes are £2.99 in the clearance aisle. Their other mistake was the dip in quality. I got some in November and they tasted less chocolately than a Cadbury's Dairy Milk (which I like). It had that same flat butter-sugar flavour as very cheap chocolate. Whether the chocolate was described as 'lemon' or 'caramel' or 'fudge' the texture and flavour was almost identical. I don't remember ever having chocolate I actually didn't want to eat, they were that bad.
  • James
    My local Thorntons currently have a closing down sale on, all stock is being sold for ridiculously low prices.
  • John F.
    if they hadn't basterdised the flavor with fillers to save money they might still be in business
  • Rick R.
    Just an observation but all the famous UK chocolates seem to have moved some of their production to the continent and we have Belgium style fillings and flavours filling our boxes, I no longer buy them despite the lower prices maybe the famous uk branding but continental style is better for the wider European market? I certainly do not like it. Am I alone in this view?
  • Billy
    As soon as I started seeing their products in places like Tesco, the brand just became another grocery item. The magic of Thorntons disappeared for me then.
  • Kevin
    They got left behind by better competitors. It's not the recession/downturn etc. You sell a poorer product you lose customers. Anyway it's a tiny loss compared to many other businesses that keep going. If they are clever and can get rid of the loss-making shops and refocus their business they can keep going. I agree them being in the supermarkets and WH Smiths has totally killed off any sort of 'prestige' that they used to have.
  • Sicknote
    I bloody hope so - we'll see a lot less 'circling the drain' fat knackers on the operating table
  • Mike H.
    Goes to show companies can still make a massive profit when unemployment is at it's highest. Shows what the chavs spend their (read mine) dole money on. To be fair, they've got to have something to do while I work to keep them and their little chavvy offspring in sugar.

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