Hershey says future 'very bright' for experiential retail upon NYC store opening

Hershey Chocolate World in New York City expected to attract four million visitors annually.  Photo: Hershey

Hershey will open its Chocolate World experience store in New York City’s Time Square later this year.

The store will include Hershey’s traditional confectionery products, such as S’mores, on a “total over-the-top scale,” and interactive features, such as personalized milk chocolate bar wrappers, VP of the Hershey Experience, Suzanne Jones, said.

Customers will also be able to purchase baked products at the Hershey’s kitchens bakery during their visit. Those products, many of which are only available at the Times Square location, will include Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s and Cookies n Crème-themed brownies.

The original Hershey’s Chocolate World opened over 40 years ago at the company’s headquarters in Pennsylvania for visitors to learn about the chocolate manufacturing process. Now, there are three Hershey-branded retail stores across the US, including the one in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Internationally, there are four Hershey’s stores, including locations in Niagara Falls, Ontario; Dubai; Singapore; and Shanghai, China.

Benefiting in-store retail

Hershey announced the new store as many CPG companies open their own retail and dining spaces. Ferrero, for example, opened its first Nutella Café in Chicago in May 2017, and Kellogg extended the menu at its NYC cereal café in September last year.

Commenting on branded retailer’s importance to confectioners, Jones said, “the modern consumer is really savvy about what and with whom they choose to build a relationship”.

“Confection and snacks is a category that plays an important role in people’s lives… punctuating family traditions and gatherings,” she said. “Our stores give guests an experience to grow their connection to our products and our company.”

Jones said Hershey shares insights from its retail stores with the teams who work with the company’s retail partners.

Additionally, “we have a retail evolution team at Hershey that’s constantly looking at how new technology might intersect with our iconic brands to create an engaging retail experience,” she added.

“The future is very bright for experiential retail.”

Hershey expects its new chocolate store to attract over four million visitors annually.

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