The world’s biggest chocolate brand, M&M’S, today announced the grand opening of its London M&M’S World store, in Leicester Square. Creating 180 new jobs in the Capital, the gigantic 35,000 square foot destination is the first in Europe, building on the huge success of the iconic Times Square, New York, Orlando and Las Vegas stores, visited by more than 10 million people every year.
M&M’S World represents a major business success for London. With 180 permanent staff roles created by the chocolate-themed venue, London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional agency for London, and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the Government body responsible for encouraging foreign direct investment into the UK and helping UK trade in overseas markets, are celebrating the investment in setting up their new West End home.
Spanning four floors and big enough to house more than 100 double-decker buses, the new store offers a huge range of exclusive M&M'S chocolates and merchandise including clothing, kitchenware, bedding, jewellery, and glassware, as well as seasonal items and specially-designed London-themed M&M'S branded products. The opening of this M&M’S World mega-store represents a significant investment of over £10 million by Mars, Incorporated. Occupying a prime location in the old Swiss Centre Building, beneath the W Hotel, the store will become the latest shopping destination for Leicester Square’s annual 27 million visitors.
Stepping in to the store through the colourful, light box window displays, visitors will be treated to a unique ‘retail-tainment’ experience and a feast for the senses. Customers will be greeted by 7 foot statues of the much-loved M&M’S characters and will pass through an authentic 1963 iconic London double-decker bus, featuring giant interactive screens. In the middle of the store, a gigantic sweeping red staircase is illuminated by a unique, multi-coloured M&M’S like ‘lentil’ tiered chandelier which backs on to a custom made Union Jack, constructed out of M&M’S logo.
As visitors continue to explore, they will meet life size versions of all the well-loved M&M’S characters as they discover all the fun London has to offer. Producing a vibrant rainbow of colour, the store will feature the world famous interactive ‘Wall of Chocolate’, where visitors can create their very own custom-blended M&M’S selection from a full range of 22 colours of both milk chocolate and peanut M&M’S housed in more than 100, gigantic clear tube dispensers reaching up to the ceiling.
In addition to the ‘Wall of Chocolate’ the store will also feature the M&MScope; an interactive video link to all floors, as well as a special viewing room where you can get a glimpse of M&M’S Mixologists hard at work creating one of a kind colour blends.
Currently sold in more than 100 countries, the M&M’S brand is worth over $2.75bn globally, making it the world’s largest confectionery brand (Euromonitor, 2009). In the US M&M’S is amongst the country’s most recognisable brands. In the UK, M&M’S is now a Top 10 chocolate brand (Symphony IRI 52 w/e 17th July), currently worth approximately £50m in retail sales value and growing strongly at 12% per year (IRI MAT April 2011). The opening of the Leicester Square store represents just one strand of UK M&M’S brand activity in 2011. In addition this year the brand will receive over £8m of investment into TV, online and in store activity and has also announced a unique partnership with Digital Cinema Media’s 60 second entertainment show ‘From The Red Carpet’ (FTRC), which shows nationwide in every digital cinema screen before every film. Its prime location in Leicester Square further puts the brand and exciting new store in the heart of London’s film and cinema landscape. The brand is now committed to replicating its US success in the UK and the rest of Europe, as it opens this iconic new store in the heart of London.
The brand new store will also house a walk-through time line of the world’s most popular confectionery brand, with the characters dating back to 1954. With thousands of products available in store, specially trained M&M’S staff and retail partners including Swarovski and Maxell, who have collaborated on a range of exclusive products, every visitor is sure to find a unique aspect to enjoy.
M&M’S fans can get to know their favourite characters through a series of giant video screens before meeting them for photos at the animated backdrop area or whilst walking on an in-store ‘zebra crossing’. For those true fanatics, the famous and loveable characters can be visited in their “M&M’S Character Worlds,” as Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Orange are brought to life in themed, personalised in-store areas. As loveable, bumbling Yellow tries his best to look the part as a valiant knight in shining armour, Red who thrives on attention with his sarcastic, sense of self importance, can be seen doing a better job of protecting the ‘precious jewels’ (M&M’S chocolates!). Glamorous Miss ‘Green’ enjoys her very own boutique shopping area, whilst laid back “Mr Cool” ‘Blue’ can be seen creating a scene at the wheel of an impressive sports car. Finally, a rather paranoid Orange plays goalie in his football area, inviting shoppers to get involved.
Susan Saideman, President, Mars Retail Group, commented: “We can’t wait to bring the world’s most popular confectionery brand to the heart of the UK. This will be our first store outside of North America, which will see a unique twist of London culture added to the M&M’S experience. Whether you’re a Londoner or visiting this great city from elsewhere in the UK or abroad, M&M’S World is a must see for all chocolate lovers. It will be a totally unique, fun-filled shopping experience for all who visit, guaranteed to make it one of London's sweetest attractions.”
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson commented: "The opening of the world's largest M & M store with the creation of 180 new jobs clearly demonstrates London's position as a top class city. Global firms are investing here because London is simply the best place in the world to do business and, with the international focus ahead of next year's 2012 Games, we will be pushing hard to lure the biggest and best business to our great city. Located at the heart of the West End in an area currently undergoing an £18.5m makeover, Europe's first M&M World is sure to become one of the capital's tastiest attractions."
Andrew Cooke, Interim CEO for London & Partners added: “M&M World in Leicester Square represents a fantastic achievement for London and is a hugely positive case study for London & Partners and UKTI. London offers a global brand like M&M an ideal platform to engage with consumers in a creative and innovative environment. As a destination London connects to both the UK audience but is also a direct and successful gateway to Europe. Leicester Square is an extremely attractive destination for any brand, with extremely high footfall from both Londoners and visitors and businesses can take advantage of being part of the multimillion regeneration programme which will be complete by 2012.”
The M&M’S World store will be open daily from 10am – midnight, and from 12 to 6pm on Sundays.
Notes to Editors
London & Partners – Chloe Couchman – email@example.com
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