CHOCOLATE shop Thorntons is shutting all of its stores because of the impact of coronavirus.
The retailer said it has been hit hard by the pandemic and will disappear from the high street.
All 61 Thorntons stores will close putting 603 jobs at risk.
Thorntons stores have been shut because of lockdowns over the past year including during crucial shopping periods like Christmas and Easter.
Sales have surged online and the choc shop will continue to sell its sweet treats on its website thorntons.co.uk.
Thorntons will also continue to sell chocs through other shops where they are stocked such as supermarkets.
The company, which was founded in Sheffield in 1911, was bought by Italian food giant Ferrero in 2015 for £112 million.
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.
“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.”
Non-essential shops are expected to open again on April 12 under plans for the country to leave lockdown.
Thorntons is the latest retailer forced to cut jobs and close stores because of the pandemic.
Posh department store John Lewis last week announced it will close more stores after slumping to a £517million annual loss.
More to follow…
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