Jun 8, 2022
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Hotter Shoes adds to digital hubs at Notcutts garden centres

Jun 8, 2022

Footwear retailer Hotter Shoes continues to cultivate its association with UK garden centre group Notcutts.

Hotter Shoes

The Unbound Group-owned retailer is opening two more ‘digital hubs’ this month at Notcutts Rivendell, Cheshire, and Notcutts Garden Pride, East Sussex, on 16 and 30 June respectively. 

Brands have increasingly linked with garden centres in order to reach the right kind of customer and retail peer Joules even went as far as buying a garden furniture specialist when it acquired Garden Trading. Joe Browns, meanwhile, has added more garden-focused items to its homewards offer of late.

The new Hotter development will take the now-year-long partnership to eight garden centre concessions in the UK alongside its 17 standalone ‘Technology Centres’.

The relationship “forms a key part of Hotter’s strategy to develop its in-store presence with selected partners and use its differentiated technology for a high-quality customer experience”, it said.

The latest digital hubs will showcase the brand’s Customised Comfort products, which can be purchased in-store, and will feature a digital kiosk so customers can browse the full range of Hotter products – which have over 40 different fit combinations – before ordering directly from the Hotter distribution centre. 

Using 3D Footprint technology to deliver a precision fit experience to customers, these digital kiosks use scanning technology to “enable the customer to understand their foot shape and precisely measure foot length and width for a bespoke shoe fitting experience”.

Hotter said it will continue developing its partnership with Notcutts “reaching new and existing customers around the UK”. 

It noted that its garden centre sales growth is now ahead of pre-pandemic levels, and Hotter is “well positioned to capitalise on more customers returning to enjoy physical retail experiences and garden centre retail opportunities”. 

It also said the alignment of Hotter’s target 55+ demographic and the core garden centre audience “provides [us] with the opportunity to continue building its 4.6 million customer database, representing 29% of [aged] 55+ women in the UK”.
Ian Watson, CEO of Unbound Group, added: “We are delighted to launch two new digital hubs, continuing our partnership with Notcutts and extending our successful digital footprint in the UK in line with our ‘right-sized’ store portfolio strategy and our repositioning as a digitally led business.

“Whilst we continue to invest in developing our digital channels and online shopping experience, investing in our in-store experience remains critical, and it is important that we continue to deliver high-quality and bespoke in-person retail experiences for our customers.”

Hotter’s latest Q1 results in May showed the business “performed strongly”, delivering a double-digit increase in revenue against the comparative period last year, as well as an improvement in gross margin.

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