- Thorntons is poised to shutter its Oxford Street store
- Owner Ferrero is carrying out a strategic review of the business
- Retail Week understands further closures are “likely” to follow the review
- Ferrero declines to coment on whether more stores could be axed
Thorntons is poised to close its store on Oxford Street as new owner Ferrero continues a review of the business, Retail Week has learned.
Sources close to the situation said the store had been on the market for a couple of weeks and the retailer was seeking a buyer for the lease.
Thorntons, which was acquired by Ferrero for £112m last August, told Retail Week it was looking at “alternative store options” in London.
Retail Week understands that further store closures are likely to follow once Ferrero has completed its strategic review.
The Italian firm refused to confirm or deny whether more Thorntons shops would be shuttered under its plans for the retailer, which remain under wraps.
A Thorntons spokeswoman said: “Thorntons can confirm that it is looking at alternative store options in London as its current Oxford Street store does not meet its ideal requirements.
“As this process is still ongoing, no decision has been taken as to whether this will lead to a store closure.”
Ferrero is yet to unveil its vision for Thorntons, but pledged to “maintain the Thorntons brand and the Alfreton factory” when it completed the acquisition almost a year ago.
The European confectionery giant insisted it would “work with the management and employees” of Thorntons in a bid to “grow the business”, but admitted “a strategic and operational review” of the retailer would be the first step on that journey.
It is unclear what stage that review has reached.
Former Thorntons boss Jonathan Hart stepped down in June 2015 after four years at the helm, during which he attempted to transform the retailer into “an emerging international FMCG company”.
But falling orders from supermarket giants melted sales and forced Thorntons to issue a profit warning in December 2014, paving the way for upmarket rival Hotel Chocolat to surge ahead in the sales stakes.
In the wake of Hart’s departure, former Thorntons chairman Peter Thornton – the grandson of the chocolatier’s founder – urged Ferrero to return the business to its retail roots and insisted it could halt its “fatal” decline.