Thursday, 24 April 2014
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Thorntons develops new interiors and identity designs

Chocolate brand Thorntons is rolling out new interiors concepts, the first of which are being designed by consultancy Inspire; with the brand also saying it may launch a new visual identity in the near future.

Birmingham shop front

Birmingham shop front, by Inspire

Inspire has created the designs for three concept stores in Birmingham and Liverpool, which opened in October last year and last week respectively; and also at Bluewater shopping centre, Kent, set to open in a few weeks time.

It has now been reported that the brand is to spend up to £6m into refitting 75 stores over the next three years, though Thorntons would not confirm when these would open or their locations. A Thorntons spokeswoman says much of the upcoming work would be done in-house.

She says, ‘The design for any other new store refits going forward will primarily be done by our in-house design team, led by our new head of design Alan Davies. At this stage we don’t know if an agency will be involved or not.’

She adds, ‘We are actually in the process of going through a new brand articulation and potentially a new visual identity’, though could not confirm if other consultancies will be involved in this.

Birmingham interior

Birmingham interior, by Inspire

The concept stores created by Inspire feature ‘More bling, more product talk and more emphasis on Thorntons enormous product range’, according to the consultancy’s website.

The Birmingham site uses a magnetic paper background at the shop front to allow the backdrop to change according to different promotions and events, with the interiors featuring detailed lighting in overhead ceiling rafts and shelf-level product lighting.

Birmingham interior

Birmingham interior, by Inspire

Inspire also introduced ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ sweet tube feature to display the Moments range; and used a gold store front to ‘create a modern look with ties to Thorntons’ nostalgia’, according to the consultancy’s website.

Readers' comments (13)

  • Very interesting. They've definitely gone for an old-fashioned sweet shop idea, with shelved products, piled high in an orderly fashion. Reminiscent of Victorian shops where you expect awe-inspiring displays and a high standard of service.
    Hopefully it will feel fun and inviting (perhaps the pick 'n' mix was a factor for this) and not too "look and don't touch".

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  • It won't help unless they get the product right. Hotel Chocolat have got the luxury end sewn up. Thornton's should go back to what they're good at - butter tablet and the best toffee you can buy anywhere. Their chocolate has always been average.

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  • It's a decent concept for sure, in a day where nostalgia is often comparable to luxury. Though I can’t help thinking that this has been a result for closing 180 stores and putting many out of a job; come to think of it, I’m not sure I favour the visual change now whatsoever.

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  • Sweet love, primarily children, so the exhibition window should be targeted primarily to them, it is not nothing that can focus their attention. There are small parts that blurred vision and did not attract passers-by, no picture shows in the evening?
    Colours of interior are"delicious", but monotonous, and too much free space is in the whole store.
    I think you need to work on the matter of the presentation of exposure in another dimension, look ordered, and to encourage more 'touch' approach closer and consumption of products.
    The name of Thorntons is nice and classic, but I think, need some fresh air.

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  • Can't say i'm a big fan. They've most likely tried to come across as unique and maybe more high-end with the old shop idea but to me it looks a little tacky and typical, so many other confectionary shops have this feel so there is now even less setting them aside.

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  • Hotel Chocolat is all branding and no substance. You perceive the chocloate to be better because it looks high-end and contemporary. Thorntons use nothing but natural flavouring, gluten free and specific for diabetics. HC use inferior coco, additives and chemicals.

    I know which chocolate I'd rather prefer.

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  • For a brand that's dying on its feet, this is hardly going to set the world alight. A recent poll had 78% of respondents prefering Hotel Chocolat over Thorntons, and this is Thorntons answer?

    Stuffy, moribund, conservative and grossly outdated. Hotel Chocolat will be delighted that Thorntons continue to fail to recognise the world has moved on and left them behind.

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  • oh dear!

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  • Good luck to Thorntons! They are keeping the brand going and who wouldn't? However the idea of "pick n mix" is incongruous with the target market they are designing to. In fact they are selling down market cards and up market chocolate - all a little confusing.

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  • Sorry, I still won't go in to a Thornton's store.

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