Thorntons ends 65 year link with Belper

editorial image

Thorntons is to close its shop in Belper, bringing to an end the chocolate maker’s 65-year association with the town.

The King Street store will close in the summer. The company has not revealed how many staff will be affected by the closure but said it hoped to find them jobs within the group.

A spokesman for the company said: “Thorntons can confirm that the Belper store will be closing in June.

“The company is looking to redeploy employees to nearby stores.”

The closure is part of a Thorntons strategy which was announced in 2011.

In June that year, Thorntons announced they were to close up to 180 stores over the next three years following a strategic review of its business.

The chocolate maker, which announced the news at the same time as issuing a profit warning, said “a minimum” of 120 shops would shut, with the possibility of an extra 60 
closures.

At the time Thorntons said the outlets that would be closed were among the 364 stores directly owned and run by the company.

The company added that it would continue to expand its commercial division, which sells Thornton-branded chocolate via supermarkets and other retailers.

The Thorntons name is still closely associated with its 
original home in Belper where it provided employment for many local people.

In September 2011, Thorntons Retired Workers’ Association celebrated 100 years of its parent company with a party in Belper.

The company was founded in Sheffield in 1911 by Joseph Thornton, and opened a 
factory in Belper in 1948.

Joseph’s sons, Norman and Stanley, had seen an advert in the local paper offering a 
factory.

They successfully acquired the building for £8,400.

Norman’s son, Peter, ,joined the business in 1953, working at the Belper factory during breaks from studying chocolate and sugar confectionary at London Borough Polytechnic.

However, production began being moved to Somercotes in the 1980s.

The Derwent Street factory finally ceased output altogether in 2004, when the production of toffee, fudge and hardboiled products was moved over to the Thornton Park site.

The Belper site was sold in 2000 for £1.7m.

Today, Thorntons is a £180 million turnover company with 360 shops and cafes and 230 franchises together with internet, mail order and commercial services.

Since the takeover of Cadburys by US company Kraft, Thorntons is now the largest independent chocolate and confectionery company in the United Kingdom.