i

Jones given £22m boost from LDC

The Weasel:

Spotting the steaming ladle poised in her hand, I deemed it wise to avoid any criticism

Smaller Companies: Don't get sweet on Thorntons

IT HAS been the sweet taste of success for shareholders in Thorntons, the upmarket chocolate retailer and maker, on the progress of the last few years. From a low of 135p in early 1996, the shares have climbed, and now stand at an all-time high of 288.5p.

Market Report: Foostie gain evaporates as strong pound hammers exporters

The rampant pound, once again riding above three German marks, is hammering what was once Britain's industrial might. Exporters, particularly engineers, felt the brunt of the selling with Rolls-Royce, above 240p last month, diving 14p to 192p.

Thorntons plans to double its size

Thorntons, the chocolate retailer and manufacturer, plans to double its size over the next four years in a move expected to create 820 new jobs in the UK.

The Investment Column: Thorntons keeps investors sweet

Customers of Thorntons, the luxury chocolate company, are not the only ones getting fat from the appointment of turnaround man Roger Paffard as chief executive. Mr Paffard's whirlwind plans to add more than 200 bigger and better-placed sweetshops to its portfolio of 300 in the next five years will certainly feed the fantasies of chocoholics.

Just getting into his Stride

As his techno sneakers walk out of the shops, Justin Deakin is walking tall as the hottest property in footwear. By Melanie Rickey

Loosen up; ready to wear

How nice it was to be a teenager, when no-one had homes they wanted to hang around in, so the only option was to wander around the streets and shops. I don't do enough of that anymore. But funny how to some people hanging out still means wearing smart clothes. One girl I know thinks casual means Ralph Lauren slacks (slacks!!), super-posh loafers and a cashmere sweater. I don't know how they do it - whenever I try to dress smartly, I feel all restricted and fidget. Any excuse to wear nice, comfy clothes makes me happy. Clothes that you can play in and get dirty in. Yum. However, you can still look stylish (I must try to take my own advice, because I never manage it). It goes like this: a good leather jacket, floral skirts thrown together with some groovy top, combat trousers - very of the moment for boys and girls - and V-neck T-shirts. Get yourself a good-looking playmate and sing along really loud to the Top 40. La la la....

Misfortune has its funny side, and doctors see a lot of it. But a patient who hears that he faces salami surgery will not see the joke

"Hello sir. You don't mind if I teach the students on you, do you? Jolly good. Now, this chap's got peripheral vascular disease and today I'm going to chop his toes off. Of course, that'll only be a temporary solution. He'll be back with gangrene in a few months and I'll have to take off half the foot. Then the whole foot, the lower leg and gradually over the course of the next few years I'll be working my way up to the knee and above. I call it salami surgery. Any questions?" I've got one. Do consultant surgeons really still speak to patients like that in 1997, or have I just made it all up for a cheap, sensationalist, column-opening? Well, I wasn't there at the time but I'm reliably informed by a medical student that this particular incident of bedside teaching really did take place. Last week.

de-clutter: `My motto about things is if you don't use them or absolutely love them, then Get Rid Of Them!'

Tony Blair and John Major are about to promise all manner of things to improve your life this year. But can you believe them? Over the next three days we, your very own '97 feelgood factors, offer the manifesto you'd be foolish to live without. It begins, as you would, with better sex and less dusting

Full of eastern promise; property

Prices are rising in East Anglia, reports Rosalind Russell

Themed pubs at heart of high-street gold rush

There is no doubt that the leisure and retailing businesses on the receiving end of consumer spending are feeling a lot more optimistic than they have for years.

Shake-up puts Thorntons into the red

Thorntons, the family-controlled chocolate group, announced a pounds 22m restructuring yesterday that pushed the Derbyshire company pounds 14m into the red and will see its focus shift from manufacturing to retailing.

Chocolate firms give thanks for pounds 260m Easter rising

Helen Jones reports on how the industry persuades us to shell out on eggs

Hot weather melts hole in profits at Thorntons

NIGEL COPE

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