Related tags Chocolate Types of chocolate

Your cut-out-and-keep guide to top employers 55.Thorntons

In a nutshell:​ Chocolate manufacturer and retailer that has grown to become a common sight on the high street. With a turnover of £180m and around 4,400 staff on the payroll, it is certainly the biggest chocolate company of its kind.

History:​ Chocolate heaven since 1911, or so the adverts used to go, show that Thorntons is fast approaching its centenary in the choccy business. It's all thanks to Joseph William Thornton who, with his 14 year-old son Norman, opened a sweet shop in Sheffield. The business thrived until Joseph's death in 1917, requiring the services of Norman's younger brother to be enlisted. Together they founded JW Thornton in 1921, which at the time consisted of four sweet shops and a fruit shop. In 1927 it opened a factory in Sheffield, and a further one a decade later and by 1935 it owned 35 shops in 18 towns. In 1998 the company was floated on the stock market and today has nearly 400 shops and 200 franchises across the UK.

Brands you'd recognise:​ Just one brand here -- Thorntons. The chocolatier specialises in toffees, cakes and chocolates, such as its Continental and Origins ranges and also lends its name to branded ice cream, christmas puddings, chilled desserts and a toffee cream liqueur. It also produces own-label products for Boots and Marks & Spencer and, since 1996, has run a number of Thorntons branded cafes, of which it now owns around 30.

The strategy:​ Project Rebalance -- set up to improve manufacturing and labour efficiency -- has just come to an end. But expect more of the same as Thorntons tightens its belt.

Where you'd work:​ In recent years the company has closed its sites at Flixborough, near Scunthorpe, and Belper and has switched all its manufacturing, packaging and distribution facilities to its Thornton Park site at Somercotes, Derbyshire.

Do say at interview:​ Easter is just around the corner ...

Don't say at interview:​ What a good buy (Thorntons had been looking for a potential buyer late last year, but talks ended after bids didn't match company expectations).

Contact: 01773 540550,

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