Sweet Factory plans 30 stores this year

Confectionery specialist Sweet Factory intends to open 30 outlets this year and 100 within the next five years.

Eight new stores are already in solicitors' hands.

At present, Sweet Factory has seven UK outlets - a mix of traditional stores, shopping centre and railway station kiosks and concessions.

UK managing director Nick Charlton said the majority of the stores will be mall kiosks.

The latest opened at Burton on Trent in Staffordshire, earlier this month.

However, he said the expansion plan will also include one flagship store a year.

A refurbishment programme is also about to start. Stores in London's Victoria station and MetroCentre will be refurbished this year. 'They will have more of a retro feel and be more high-tech and themed,' said Charlton.

He said a loyalty card scheme, which may be operated via a Web site, will also be introduced.

Internationally, there are more than 500 Sweet Factory outlets in 24 countries.