UK confectionery maker and retailer Thorntons has said it has received a number of approaches from parties interesting in buying the company.

On 15 October the company announced it had been in preliminary discussions with a private equity house that may lead to an offer being made for Thorntons. The company also said that certain executive directors had been granted permission to evaluate potential sources of finance to enable the company to be taken private.

John Thornton, chairman of Thorntons, said that since that announcement, a number of additional preliminary approaches had been received from interested parties independent of the management team.

Thornton also said that since its preliminary results announcement in September, the company had seen some improvement in own shop like-for-like sales. He added that the outcome for the first half would depend on Christmas trading.