Chocolate shop chain to pull out of Sleaford after Christmas.

The Thornton's Outlet store in Sleaford's Southgate - due to close on December 27. EMN-171129-182701001
The Thornton's Outlet store in Sleaford's Southgate - due to close on December 27. EMN-171129-182701001

Bosses have officially announced the closure of the Thorntons store in Sleaford.

Posters have appeared in the windows of the store announcing it will close on December 27, with the nearest alternative shop being in Lincoln.

One of the posters in the Sleaford store's windows announcing the impending closure. EMN-171129-182626001

One of the posters in the Sleaford store's windows announcing the impending closure. EMN-171129-182626001

A Ferrero spokesperson confirmed the closure to The Standard, saying: “Like any retailer, we are continuously reviewing our store estate to ensure we are in the locations that meet our customer needs.

“As a result of such a review, the decision was taken to close our store in Sleaford.

“Currently, four staff members are employed at the store, but we will try our utmost to redeploy them to nearby stores.

“Thorntons has been delighted to serve our many local customers over the years and we would encourage them to visit our other store nearby in Lincoln in the future.”

Coun Richard Wright, Leader of North Kesteven District Council, said: “It is disappointing to see any store close on the high street and we hope the space is taken up quickly.

“We’re committed to supporting business through our economy priority (one of the council’s five key priorities) and will continue our work with partners to improve the town centre, for all who live, work, shop and want to do business here.

“The people of Sleaford deserve a vibrant high street and the quality choice of retail enjoyed in so many other towns.”

There has been speculation for at least six years about the future of the store as the business went through difficult times, trying to restructure, shedding some of its stores previously or handing more over to franchisees while upping its product sales within supermarkets.

The troubled Derbyshire-based company was bought two years ago in a £112m deal by the Italian Ferrero group, which produces brands including Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, and had struggled to bring losses under control, according to the financial market press.

Earlier this year it racked up pre-tax losses of more than £19m in its first full-year under the ownership of the Ferrero group, partly relating to restructuring and refinancing, shop closures and lease charges.

This is another blow to Sleaford’s High Street ‘offer’ after earlier this year Store Twenty One closed down having gone into administration. Since then, a new, independent investor has moved into the store and re-opened selling clothes and home furnishings.