York café to close as 110-year-old chain is hit hard by the pandemic
A York café is to close as part of a national shutdown of retail stores.
The Chocolate Café in York Designer Outlet is the last Thorntons branch in the city.
The café, which also sells a range of the famous chocolates, is to go as Thorntons shuts all its 61 stores, putting 603 jobs at risk.
The retailer said it has been hit hard by the pandemic, which has kept many of its stores shut for key periods around Christmas and Easter.
But in reality Thorntons was struggling before Covid. It closed its store on Parliament Street in York city centre in January 2020.
A company spokesperson said then that the closure was a result of a review of their store estate, and encouraged customers to ‘to shop for their favourite Thorntons products at our York Café store’.
Now that option has gone too.
The company, which was founded in Sheffield in 1911, was bought by Italian food giant Ferrero in 2015 for £112 million.
Thorntons said it has seen sales surge online and will invest in its grocery supply business as part of the shake-up of its operations.
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.”