Chocolate retailer Thorntons has announced plans to permanently shut all its 61 stores with 603 jobs impacted.
Adam Goddard, retail director at Thorntons, said: “Changing dynamics of the high street, shifting customer behaviour to online, the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and the numerous lockdown restrictions over the last year – especially during our key trading periods at Easter and Christmas – has meant we have been trading in the most challenging circumstances.”
The 110-year-old chocolatier had been struggling with falling sales for some time before the pandemic struck.
Thorntons has racked up more than £130m in losses since Italian confectionery group Ferrero acquired the company in 2015.
Mr Goddard added: “Unfortunately like many others, the obstacles we have faced and will continue to face on the high street are too severe and despite our best efforts we have taken the difficult decision to permanently close our retail store estate.
“We will now go into full consultation with our colleagues.”
While Thorntons shops will disappear from Britain’s high streets and shopping centres, the company will continue to produce chocolate at its factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire.
Thorntons become the latest retail casualty since the pandemic began with TopShop, Jaeger and Edinburgh Woollen Mill among the brands to have gone into administration in the past year.