Thorntons started operating in 1911 when Joseph W. Thornton opened his first shop and sold confectionery products in Sheffield. In 1922, the Thornton brothers, Joseph’s sons created their Thorntons Easter Eggs. In 1931, Thorntons bought its very first enrober and moved its operations to a different location. This was also the period where the Thornton brothers started producing handmade truffles, fudge, crystallised fondants and candies.
In 1934, operations started to become busier and the brothers were able to employ a total of 40 people, most of them working in the shops while the two brothers worked in the office. By 1938, Thorntons already had 35 shops, eight of which were opened within that year. The stores were scattered in 18 towns all over the country. In 1948,Thornton brothers was able acquire a factory in the area of Belper, Derbyshire.
In 1967, Thorntons had around 90 stores and in 1975 the company had its first Thorntons franchise store, which was located in Barrow. In 1996, Thorntons opened its first Café inLondon. Two years after, the company entered into ecommerce when it started operating Thorntons Direct.
In 2001,Thorntons’ products began to be sold in J. Sainsbury stores. The store sold five of Thorntons’ product lines. In 2008,Thorntons launched a new brand, Moments, which earned the company around £10 million in the first year. In 2010, the company was running about 600 stores across the country. Their Special Toffee and Continental Chocolates have consistently maintained a place as one of the most popular chocolate brands in the country.
Today, Thorntons operates in two divisions, Sales & Operations, and Retail. Its Retail Division includes its own stores, Thorntons Direct and franchise stores, while its Sales & Operations Division includes manufacturing operations and commercial trading. As of June 2010, the company has a total of 377 stores in different parts of the UK and in Ireland as well. The total number of franchised Thorntons stores reached 222 in the same period.
Thorntons currently produces a wide variety of chocolates, including milk chocolate, white chocolate, toffee, dark chocolate, chocolate truffles and fudge. The company’s subsidiaries are Thorntons Ltd and Strand Court Properties.
Headquarters: Derbyshire,United Kingdom
Ownership Type: Public Limited Company
Employees: 4,382 (as of January 2011)
Geography: UK, Ireland
Demography: retail products consumers, chocolate confectionery consumers