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With eleven stores launched in just 3 months in the later part of 2006, Hotel Chocolat has gone from being a web based retailer to a fully functioning fabulous looking and tasting, new retail chain, with a grand total of twenty-two stores and their very own cocoa plantation in St Lucia and all in just over two years. Wow! They are living proof that retail is still a lucrative market, if you get it right. 

Take a look at any one of their sites designed by Terry Moore Design and it’s easy to see why the public are lapping up the chocolate and why the new chain won ‘best emerging retailer of the year’ at this year’s Retail Week Awards.  Added to this their plantation is completely and genuinely fair-trade, something they are obviously very proud of.

Their target audience is middle of the road with discerning taste, which is reflected in the overall design concept and price pointing in-store.  They have both very affordable and good value products alongside expensive ones and so the store is sharp looking but not intimidating.  They aim to be timeless with a sense of honesty and no frills to show off their great packaging.  The overall concept was derived from the name ‘Hotel’, being classy and spacious, quite cool yet accessible at all levels, just like any good hotel foyer.


Terry Moore Design was given a rough brief, which resulted from Hotel Chocolat’s re-branding exercise.  A prototype was launched in Watford in October 2004.  With this store design concept in place Terry Moore further refined the design and production process and looked at a number of manufacturers before selecting a main contractor, fixtures contractor and lighting contractor for the job.


Whilst Hotel Chocolat is fast becoming a multiple it is definitely not a synthetic multiple and tries to mirror its friendly and personable business ethics in its design.  Large porcelain tiles shipped direct from Italy adorn the floor, good quality joinery and fixtures are bespoke and make up the bulk of the instore, the ceiling is left open and sprayed for a theatrical feel and the cash desk was deliberately designed to be over scale to give the appearance of a hotel concierge.  The shops are also energy efficient and quite economical being lit with 60% fluorescents plus attractive pendant lighting that has been manufactured to their design for added style.  Blackboard pricing is used throughout the stores and they make the most of their enviable fair-trade status with instore graphics.


Having designed the initial concept as well as each store individually, the job has been cost engineered and they now know what each store will cost as they go from one to the next.  The reaction on the high street is good, much to the delight of a conservation officer involved with the Canterbury store, where Hotel Chocolat took over a listed building which happened to be the second oldest in the town.  With two more stores in the pipeline at present, their current repertoire includes, Bluewater in Dartford, the Metro Centre in Newcastle, the Oracle in Reading, Canterbury, Maidstone, Drakes Circus in Plymouth, Moorgate in London, Telford, Merry Hill in Dudley, the Glades in Bromley and the Arndale Centre in Manchester.  Plus, the initial 11 stores that started with the Watford prototype in 2004.



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