Demand strong in Japan for Cookie Time

Last updated 13:33 13/02/2014
Cookie Time Tokyo
FIRST STEPS: Cookie Time International directors Lincoln Booth (left) and Michael Mayell with customers at the Harajuku Cookie Bar.

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They're queuing up for New Zealand-styled cookies in Tokyo.

Canterbury-based snack manufacturer Cookie Time has opened a store in Japan, based on its Queenstown shop, and the queues have been out the door even before it was officially opened today.

The store, Cookie Time's first foreign outlet, is in the fashionable Harajuku shopping area within the Shibuya ward of Tokyo.

Cookie time has been operating for about 30 years and its 44 products reach most New Zealand consumers through a distribution chain that includes 6000 outlets including supermarkets, cafes and dairies. It has sales of about $30 million.

While the Cookie Time Harajuku store officially opens today it has been trading since December 20 with daily queues of people waiting to get inside, Cookie Time International Ltd (CTIL) director Lincoln Booth said.

The Harajuku Cookie Bar was a partnership between CTIL and Japanese food distribution business IceCo, which held the Japanese license for the Cookie Muncher Cookie Bar concept, he said.

Two more Japanese stores are planned in the next 12 months, and CTIL is also talking with potential partners in Thailand and Malaysia.

Booth said the response to the first store had been strong.

"The Cookie Bar opened with a soft launch as we have been working hard over the last four weeks to complete the full store fit-out, complete staff training and deliver brand merchandise," he said.

"Despite this work in progress, the response has been incredible with daily queues and strong sales.

"We're not pushing the New Zealand angle, but it certainly does add some extra flavour to the experience."

The bar had a focus on hot cookies and freshly prepared cookie products along with ice cream and drinks, and used a new Cookie Bar brand based on its Cookie Muncher character.

The brand evolution was done by CTIL's design team, and the store design concept by Christchurch company Redesign, Booth said.

The Queenstown Cookie Bar would be refreshed with new retail branding over the next six months.

Cookie dough and key brand merchandise for Harajuku was being supplied from New Zealand.

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- Fairfax Media

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