Festive cheer for Hotel Chocolat

Luxury chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat has bucked the gloomy festive retail trend, reporting strong sales growth across all its channels - retail, digital and wholesale.
Hotel Chocolat is gearing up for Valentine's DayHotel Chocolat is gearing up for Valentine's Day
Hotel Chocolat is gearing up for Valentine's Day

Despite consumers cutting back on spending over Christmas, Hotel Chocolat said its total revenue increased 15 per cent year-on-year during the 13 weeks to December 30.

The news comes as the firm confirmed plans to open more sites in Yorkshire after the success of its current store portfolio.

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The group's co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said: "Yorkshire is a real jewel for us and we anticipate opening more stores in the county.

"We are still looking for sites in Huddersfield and Halifax and there are other ones we are looking at.

"All our Yorkshire stores are performing extremely well and we've had a very successful Christmas."

The group said trading in the new year is in line with management’s expectations.

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New store openings contributed 5 per cent of the growth in the period, with the balance coming from existing stores, digital and wholesale channels.

Mr Thirlwell said the group's Velvetiser in-home hot chocolate system and its new Chocolat Cream Liqueur were particularly good sellers and tens of thousands of each were sold in the run up to Christmas.

Hotel Chocolat opened shops in New York and Tokyo last year, adding to a handful in Denmark, and said initial customer response had been “very encouraging”.

Analyst Wayne Brown at Liberum said: "A strong quarter over the festive period has helped deliver 15 per cent total sales growth over the 13 weeks ending December 30.

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"The group’s new wholesale partnerships, the Velvetiser and the launch of a loyalty scheme were notable successes with strong growth, balancing lower margins with lighter capital investment.

"With revenues ahead of expectations, this has helped to offset the costs of launching in new channels, markets and products, which leads us to leave forecasts unchanged – an exemplary outcome in light of the broader retail market."