Hotel Chocolat to create 250 jobs this year following strong trading

Hotel Chocolat is set to create 250 jobs after reporting strong trading over the last financial year.

Library image of a Hotel Chocolat store
Library image of a Hotel Chocolat store

Hotel Chocolat Group, has published a post-close trading update for the 52 weeks ended 27 June 2021.

The group said full year revenue for the last financial year was £165 million, which is an increase of 21 per cent compared to the previous year.

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The statement added: "Since the previous trading update in May, group trading has remained strong. With all channels open, group sales for the 10 weeks from 19 April 2021 to 27 June 2021 grew 34 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, and 63 per cent compared to the same period in 2020 when all physical locations were closed.

"Having grown the UK customer database by 66 per cent to three million in the 18 months since December 2019, digital and subscription sales are now a substantially larger proportion of the group's total revenue and have remained so after full store channel reopening. Increases in visits, conversion, and average order value have combined to substantially increase customer lifetime value (LTV)."

In the US product sales increased by 62 per cent on the prior year with over 75 per cent of sales achieved directly through the group's US website.

The statement added: "The group remains well capitalised with cash on hand and access to a £25m 'CLBILS' Revolving Credit Facility with Lloyds Bank, that expires December 2021. To date, the Group has made no drawings against the facility."

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: "I am fortunate to be able to say that the growth avenues ahead of us have never been better in Hotel Chocolat's history. The strategies we put in place two years ago are now delivering accelerated growth.

"Our Velvetiser in-home drinks system, our VIP and digital programmes, and our USA and Japanese joint-venture start-ups have step-changed our growth potential.

"Our goal of becoming the most tech-activated chocolate brand is moving forward in leaps and bounds and is already helping to power our major achievements and future growth.

"Indeed, this year we expect more than 50% of our sales to come from digital, partners, and subscription-continuity models, reflecting how Hotel Chocolat is growing and evolving. Our brand-building stores will continue to play a pivotal role in our digital-led business, with an unrivalled ability to introduce new customers to our brand.

"I am particularly excited by what we have achieved so far in the US and Japan, two of the three largest economies in the world. We have great growth opportunities there for Hotel Chocolat and strong teams in place to drive and support it.

"We are proud to be making our chocolate in the UK and will be creating over 250 new roles this year as we grow our team, from designers and data gurus to engineers and apprentices."

Hotel Chocolat has nine stores in Yorkshire, with one being upsized shortly, although the company cannot reveal its location at the moment.

Mr Thirlwell added: “York in particular is really flying. We put it down to UK tourism having a bit of a surge.

“There is a really encouraging picture from Yorkshire. We have introduced a lot of new customers to the brand who are demonstrating great loyalty.”