English brand Ben's Cookies shuts last store at Wisma Atria

The Wisma Atria store was Ben's Cookies' first opening in Singapore back in 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Famous cookie brand Ben's Cookies - which hails from Oxford, England - shuttered its last store at Wisma Atria on Oct 7.

The closure is four days earlier than planned, as its farewell "7 for $7" cookie sale saw its goods sell out in about an hour. Its cookies are usually priced at $2.95 each.

The promotion was supposed to last through the weekend.

The official closure was announced on its Instagram account on the same day.

"We are sad that we are no longer baking cookies in Singapore and we hope to see you somewhere else in the future," said the post.

This store was the brand's first opening in Singapore back in 2014. It also ran a branch at Northpoint City, which closed on July 18.

Known for its freshly baked large cookies with chunks of chocolate, Ben's Cookies offers flavours such as milk chocolate and peanut butter, white chocolate and cranberry, as well as matcha.

It started as a stall in Oxford's Covered Market in 1983 and grew into an international chain with locations including Tokyo, Manila and Seoul.

The popular brand is founded by cookery writer Helge Rubinstein, who named it after her son Ben.

He is also the person in the iconic logo drawn by renowned illustrator Quentin Blake.

The highly competitive food and beverage scene in Singapore has recently seen an influx of trendy home-grown cookie brands churning out stuffed cookies.

These include Guilt in Arab Street, home-based business Lookie Cookie, as well as Nasty Cookie - which has four outlets at Funan, Westgate, Orchard Gateway and Kaki Bukit View.

Guilt's co-founder Kirsty Tsang, 31, believes it is a "volume game" for selling cookies and other baked goods.

Prices for her fancy loaded cookies start at $3.75 for the OG, a classic cookie with Valrhona dark chocolate chunks. To attract more people to buy cookies, delivery cost is just $5 for orders above $25 - which is easily hit when ordering the basic box of six cookies ($26).

She says: "It's all about paying close attention to consumer demands, and adapting quickly. "There's definitely a lot of nostalgia associated with Ben's Cookies for a lot of Singaporeans and it just goes to show that even bigger brands with a lot of history aren't necessarily recession/pandemic proof."

For Lookie Cookie, its owner Jessica Chow, 29, notes that while home bakers like herself may not produce as much as a big brand and have as high a revenue, their cost is also low.

She does not have to worry about high rental and labour costs - factors which could have contributed to the closure of Ben's Cookies. Lookie Cookie offers large stuffed cookies ($21 for four), which come in flavours such as Nutella, Uji Matcha and Speculoos.

She adds: "Singaporeans like chasing food fads. In the near future, who knows? Demand for our products may not be sustainable also.
"Then, we'll have to keep innovating."

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