Hotel Chocolat Group has released its interim results for the 26 weeks ended 27 December 2020. Over the period, revenue rose by 11% to £101.9m and profit before tax increased by 3% to £15.5m.
The company said the strong sales growth reflected the growing brand appeal in the UK, US and Japan
UK sales grew by 12 per cent, driven by increased multichannel flexibility, with online growth more than offsetting the reduction in physical retail sales caused by closures during lockdown and Tier 4 restrictions
The UK customer database grew by 38 per cent, as it added 0.6m active members.
Hotel Chocolat said it had also made continued progress on sustainable business goals, which included the development of a new ‘gentle farming’ approach.
Investments in people created more than 130 jobs and the proportion of recyclable packaging rose to 93%.
Angus Thirlwell, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hotel Chocolat, said: “The Hotel Chocolat brand stayed strong during a difficult period for all of us. We certainly kept the chocolate flowing thanks to our online capabilities and multichannel expertise.
"We recorded superb results in the UK, US and Japan despite Covid-19 restrictions affecting all our physical locations. We achieved sales growth during those periods when all UK physical locations were closed, demonstrating the brand’s appeal to our loyal customers, and our flexible business model.
“Databases of active customers grew substantially in all three markets, underpinning our confidence of growth in the years to come.
"In the UK, our multichannel model truly came of age, and excitingly, both Japan and the US firmly stepped up from the ‘test and learn’ phase into ‘grow and scale’. Total brand sales, through direct-to-consumer and partner-channels combined, increased 16% year-on-year.
“Huge thanks go to all the Hotel Chocolat family who worked tirelessly to safely and creatively adapt the business and deliver these results. We know that we all played a role in maintaining morale and bringing happiness through chocolate in all the countries we operate in.
“We look forward to building the Hotel Chocolat brand further as we move closer to our goal of becoming the leading global direct-to-consumer premium chocolate brand.”
In January, the firm said Yorkshire had been one of its top performing regions during the lockdown with strong demand for online sales across the region.