// Hotel Chocolat introduces new “drive-to” outlet store
// The confectionery retailer has opened the new store in Cambridgeshire
Hotel Chocolat has reportedly launched a “drive-to” outlet store as it accelerates plans to reduce food waste and leverage on the demand for sustainability.
The confectionery retailer has opened the new store in Cambridgeshire at the site of a former Cath Kidston store, next to its main distribution centre in St Neots.
The 1400sq ft store is twice the size of a regular Hotel Chocolat store and features a cafe, Retail Week reported.
It also has 3000sq ft outside for alfresco seating, as well as a 100-space car park for customers.
Hotel Chocolat said the outlet will stock its full product proposition of 500 SKUs alongside an additional range of 50 end-of-season and misshapen chocolate products.
Meanwhile, founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said the retailer aims to launch more outlets across villages, retail parks or service stations if the debut store proves a success.
Thirlwell said the outlet had “gotten off to a great start” and was the best performing store in its portfolio.
He added that the company “hates wasting stuff” so the store is a way of selling unsold products instead of creating further waste.
Moreover, Hotel Chocolat recently said it would create 200 jobs in its Cambridgeshire distribution centre after a surge in online demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
The chocolatier said customers switching online during the lockdown helped to mitigate the impact of closing its store estate.
Digital sales surged to over 200 per cent year-on-year growth in the quarter to June 30, as shoppers bought Easter and Mother’s Day gifts online.