Buoyed by the success of its Queenstown Cookie Bar,
Christchurch-based Cookie Time has gone international.
It officially opened the Cookie Muncher Cookie Bar in the
Harajuku district of Tokyo yesterday, in a partnership with
Japan's largest privately owned food distribution business
Two more Japanese stores were planned in the next 12 months
and Cookie Time International Ltd was also in discussions
with potential partners in Thailand and Malaysia.
Cookie Time opened its first domestic Cookie Bar in
Queenstown in 2010 and it had been ''delighted'' with that
store's progress, Cookie Time International Ltd director
Lincoln Booth said from Japan yesterday.
Retail was a ''really tough game'' and coming from a
wholesale background, it had been quite new for the company.
Setting up in Queenstown was a bold move and they had been
lucky enough to ''keep chipping away'', developing and
expanding the business, and it had evolved into quite a
They were fortunate to have a fantastic team and that helped
them gain enough confidence in the model to take it offshore,
Mr Booth said.
Strong performance and ''double digit'' growth over the past
18 months had led to approaches by international companies
interested in licensing opportunities.
The Cookie Bar opened in Harajuku - known as Japan's centre
of street fashion - with a soft launch in late December.
Mr Booth was delighted with sales, which included a record
day on Wednesday. Valentine's Day was also a ''big thing'' in
Japan and he was expecting another strong sales day.
''It's very early days for the Harajuku store, but the
positive reception is cer-tainly supporting our international
retail aspirations and giving us confidence in pushing
forward in this space,'' Mr Booth said.
Japan was a ''fantastic'' market and had really connected
with the Cookie Time brand.
Mr Booth described yesterday's launch as an ''absolute
milestone'' for the company.
Queenstown remained the company's only domestic Cookie Bar
and while the company would ''love to go elsewhere'', it
needed a sustainable model which performed well, he said.
Cookie Time had grown from humble beginnings but the values
and entrepreneurial spirit from its inception remained
strong, Mr Booth said.
The company was founded in 1983 by then 21-year-old Michael
Mayell, who, in his one-bedroom Christchurch flat, dreamed up
the idea of a giant homemade cookie.
It now makes more than 15 different types of cookie, as well
as Bumper Bars and the meal bar One Square Meal.