The Swiss chocolate industry experienced a sharp downturn last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic with sales dropped sharply by 14.5%. This has led to Swiss chocolate brand, Laderach now turning its focus on China for its future expansion plan.
Laderach was established since 1962 and is one of the largest chocolate retailers in Switzerland with more than 100 stores in 15 countries.
Laderach CEO Johannes Laderach said, “It is time for us to expand beyond the chocolate-loving nation of Switzerland, and head East. A year ago we started with an online presence at Tmall, and in our own online store with a small team in China. The sales exceeded our wildest expectations. We are now opening our retail presence earlier than planned.”
He said that Shanghai will be the first point of entry into the vast Chinese market which will then follow with other major cities in the country, while its e-commerce presence will extend towards the whole of China.
Laderach said, “In October, we plan to open another store in the new Harrods which is going to open in Shanghai. Then we will reassess the situation to plan our further expansion. We would like to have a true omni-channel experience: retail combined with e-commerce availability.”
Laderach emphasised that the Chinese love affair with chocolate is growing, which could give a boost to Swiss chocolate manufacturers. According to latest data from the Swiss Federal Customs Office, China is Switzerland’s 8th largest import market for chocolate in 2020, accounting for 2.7% share.