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Thorntons | Company Profile, Marketing Contacts, Media Spend, Brands

Thornton's is a British retailer of chocolate, offering consumers both brick-and-mortar stores and delivery service.

Main Telephone 0845 075 7565
Main Fax 01773 540 757
Primary Address
Thorntons Plc
Thornton Park
Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 4XJ

Thorntons Contacts

Contacts (5)
Name Title City
Jonathan C. International Director Derbyshire
Sample of Associated Brands
Email: *****@*******.***
Main Phone: 0845 075 7565
Direct Phone: *** **** ***   ext: ****
Direct Fax: *** **** ***
Assistant Name: ** **** ***
Assistant Phone: *** **** ***
Address: Thorntons Plc
Thornton Park
Alfreton, Derbyshire
DE55 4XJ

John R. Digital Marketing Manager Derbyshire
Andy T. Brand Licensing Manager Derbyshire
Graeme L. Website Content Manager Derbyshire
Chris B. Head, Operations Derbyshire

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Associated Brands

Brand Media Spend
Thorntons *

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Ferrero adds Thorntons to its batch in strategic acquisition

Subject: Digital, Social Media, Chocolate, Omni-Channel, Mobile, FMCG, eCommerce.

Company: Ferrero (a global company that is the fourth largest confectionery manufacturer in the world) and Thorntons (UK chocolate company)

50% Opportunity: Ferrero International is reportedly purchasing the struggling Thorntons for an estimated £111.9m. With the news, Thorntons’ shares jumped 40% on Monday.

Thorntons will remain an independent company, but its Board sees the value of working with Ferrero to build the brand and the business as a whole.

We will see how this acquisition affects the strategies of both companies as they merge and begin collaborating.

Commenting on the acquisition, Ferrero chief executive Giovanni Ferrero said: “We delivered our best ever results in the UK in 2014, giving us confidence that now is the right time to broaden our roots in this important market.”

This follows the announcement at the end of May that Thorntons’ CEO, Jonathan Hart, was leaving as of 27 June and that COO Barry Bloomer would fill the role while the company seeks a replacement.

Shares rose 13% in the days leading up to the CEO's announcement.

All of the upheaval within this company indicates future strategy shifts. We are bumping up the score to 50, or a close watch, with a possible agency switch in the next 12-to-15 months but potentially sooner. DV will keep you apprised as more information arises.

Consider reaching out and to make contact with Mr. Simon Foster, the sales & marketing director, with ideas for building the brand without utilising its former strategy of depending on grocers to carry the bulk of sales (see previous DV article for more insight on this).

Mobile, eCommerce and social media remain an area for growth within the company, and currently Thorntons uses an in-house social media team. Media buying and planning will likely come under review soon as its AOR, Starcom, has been in place for 13 years now.

Thorntons’ Decision Maker Background: Mr. Hart’s time as CEO had been focused on building the store's profitability by closing under-performing shops (the company has plans to close 20 of its 247 stores this year and possibly more in the future), and growing sales in its lower-margin but higher-volume FMCG channel.

Mr. Hart announced in May a drop in retail sales by 5.4% during the third quarter, which was attributed to unexpected performance outside of Valentine's Day and Easter weekend.

In addition to Mr. Hart's exit, the head of brand design, Mr. Alan Davies, departed in May for an unconfirmed role elsewhere, and Ms. Helen Bradshaw was promoted to head of insights, category and channel planning from her role as head of product marketing.

In March, Thorntons restructured its management team, moving Barry Bloomer from head of UK commercial and international sales to COO.

Mr. Simon Foster, previously marketing director, took on additional responsibility of commercial sales, becoming sales and marketing director to collaborate between the two business areas.

Mr. Geoff Kershaw, previously retail trading director, was promoted to the new role of MD, retail. Mr. Mike Killick underwent a change in his title, from finance director to CFO, though his responsibilities remain the same within the business.

Head of Customer Insight Daniel Young is now slated to depart now, as well as Marketing Manager Mike Holton, though their exits have not been released to the press for now.

Growth Strategy: Currently working with TH_NK for digital creative, the company's strategy over the next two years (to June 2017) is about “transforming Thorntons into an international FMCG business and UK multi-channel retailer,” according to an interview with DV last year.

Hopefully Ferrero will assist with the actualisation of this goal, as Ferrero has similar goals (Ferrero UK MD Pieraldo Oldano recently announced that the company wants to double its share in the UK in five years).

This strategy, along with executive leadership shifts, will very likely lead to the company reaching out to various consultancies and possibly new agencies for help with media placement, audience segmenting, social media and omni-channel. 

Agency Relationships: Thorntons has worked with Arthur for creative, comms and branding. The company has an in-house team handling its social media activities.

In August 2014, Ferrero Rocher appointed Rocket handles their digital marketing (since 2013).

Media Spend: In 2014, Ferrero spent £19.9m in total measured media, 10% more than 2013. Cinema and TV were the only categories that rose in spend.

Croxley Green Business Park, 7 Hatters Lane, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 8PA, 01923 690 300

Mr. Fabrizio Barbin
Head, Marketing – UK & Ireland

Ms. Emma Colquhoun
Marketing Director – UK and Ireland

Ms. Emma Delbridge
Senior Brand Manager – Nutella

Mr. Alois Orleans
Product Development Planning

Thornton Park, Somercotes, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 4XJ, 0845 075 7565

Mr. Geoff Kershaw
Retail Managing Director

Mr. Jonathan Cockroft
International Director

Mr. Simon Foster
Sales & Marketing Director

Ms. Helen Bradshaw
Head of Insights, Category and Channel Planning

Starcom MediaVest Group
89 Whitfield Street, Whitfield House, London, W1T 4HQ, 020 7453 4444

Mr. Nick Larder
Digital Strategy Director

Mr. Chris Bulezuik
Business Development Director – UK