Irish chocolatier pulls out of UK café scene
Gourmet Irish chocolatier Butlers Irish Chocolates has closed its only UK café and left the country.The Butlers Chocolate Café in Westfield, London, closed on 25 June. Staff reported that they were given two weeks’ notice of the planned closure, saying that the company blamed high rents at the Westfield site.Dublin-based Butlers’ retail director Michelle Mc Bride said that, following more than five years of trading in the UK, the company had decided to concentrate on growing its wholesale business, which supplies accounts such as World Duty Free, Waitrose, John Lewis and Selfridges. She said: “The café had achieved its goal, which was to help us establish our brand in London. On the retail side of the business, our international café network is growing rapidly; with a flagship café due to open in a high-profile Dubai Airport location in December. This is a massive landmark in the company’s international retail development.”She said that Butlers will concentrate retail efforts in two areas – Ireland through company-owned and operated outlets and internationally through its franchise network development.Dublin-based Butlers has 16 Chocolate Cafés in Ireland, five in Pakistan, five in New Zealand and two in the United Arab Emirates.Butlers Chocolates was founded in Dublin in 1932. The company has been owned by the Sorensen family since the late 1950s.