16 Jul 2012

Big chocolate company in trouble

7:15 am on 16 July 2012

Australian chocolate manufacturer and retailer Darrell Lea has gone into voluntary administration with 700 jobs at risk.

With 69 company-owned and franchised stores, Darrell Lea is known in Australia and New Zealand for sweet treats like rocky road and nougat logs.

But Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says the 85-year-old family-owned business has been hit by a combination of financial difficulties and a search is now on for a buyer.

According to one view, Darrell Lea is another victim of cheap imports due to the strong dollar. According to another, it failed to keep up with the times.

Australians still love chocolates, but appetites in recent years have moved away from bulky to more boutique products.