British chocolatier Thorntons says to shut up to 180 stores
British chocolate firm Thorntons said on Tuesday that it planned to close up to 180 of its shops over the next three years owing to weak consumer spending in Britain.
The group, unveiling a major strategy review, said it would withdraw from at least 120 outlets by 2014 as their leases expire and consider the future of an additional 60 shops over the same period. Potentially 1,125 jobs are at risk.
The plan will leave Thorntons with up to 200 stores and the chocolatier will also maintain a network of franchisees.
"Our goal is to refocus the business across all channels and seek to deliver industry competitive returns over the next three to five years," Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart said in a statement.
"Although we see the prospect of weakness in high street footfall and consumer sentiment continuing, I am confident that this strategy is right.
"We continue to adapt in order to meet the changing needs of our customers, while at the same time retaining our current presence on the high street through our own stores and our franchise business," he added.
© 2011 AFP