Tongues wagging over new shoe store

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A British shoe maker is going where others fear to tread – by opening new shops.

Hotter officially opened its 50th branded store in Midsummer Place, Central Milton Keynes, today (Thursday).

Hotter, which 36 months ago had just five stores, is planning a further 20 openings by the end of the year, adding a further 200 jobs to the 200 it created in 2012.

The retailer operates online as well as having a factory in Lancashire making its shoes and selling them through a network of stockists.

Hotter says providing great customer service is key to the new stores.

Managing director Peter Taylor said: “We devote a high percentage of floor space to seating, products are displayed in easy to navigate categories and we employ people who have great customer service skills – and then we train them to fit shoes!

“Our retail concept mirrors our home shopping experience where our customers are made to feel comfortable and relaxed with outstanding service and thoughtful touches which bring them back time and again.”

Hotter identified what it calls hotspots of customers to decide where to put its stores.

Mr Taylor added: “With this data as a starting point our retail team familiarise themselves with target towns; checking anchor stores and ‘Hotter’ spotting on a variety of days and times. We have been thoughtful and deliberate with our strategy, spending time on the high street to see what is happening, reviewing every decision and always keeping the customer at the front of our mind.”

The Hotter Comfort Concept brand was founded in the early 1990s by Stewart Houlgrave whose parents set up Beaconsfield Footwear as a slipper manufacturer in 1959.