Hotel Chocolat extends its stores with latest Japanese opening

Confectionery group Hotel Chocolat has confirmed opening of its first store in Japan, at the Aeon Lake Town shopping mall in Tokyo, which is the largest of its kind in Japan.

The British business was founded in 1993 by Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris, and sells its products online and through a network of stores in the UK and abroad.

The Group has a cocoa plantation and eco-hotel in Saint Lucia, offering complete cocoa immersion thorough tree-to-bar experiences and wellness treatments. In addition, the company also has a flagship restaurant and cocoa roastery in London’s Borough Market: Rabot 1745. The Group was admitted to trading on AIM in 2016.

On its latest store’s location, Japan has proved an increasingly significant market for a number of confectionery launches by leading brands over the past few years. This has included Barry Callebaut’s decision for early market trials of its ruby chocolate brand, which has reportedly been successfully received by local consumers.

Speaking recently to Confectionery Production, Angus Thirlwell confirmed the group had recorded a positive performance in 2018, with expansion activities within the company including the expected completion next month of a visitor attraction linked to its St Lucia production facilities themed around chocolate production.

The co-founder and chief executive officer welcomed the new store in Japan. He said: “The reaction to Hotel Chocolat in Japan on our first day of trading last week was hugely encouraging. Customer engagement, media attention and sales performance were all well ahead of expectations. Our portfolio of products landed with aplomb. Hot chocolate drinks, our 8g sculpted chocolate batons, and our Selector range were all in high demand. We look forward to unfolding the brand further here.”

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