Hotel Chocolat eyes up Yorkshire expansion as revenue jumps

Luxury chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat has announced a 14 per cent jump in annual revenue, boosted by its new ice-cream range as customers treat themselves to affordable treats.

Hotel Chocolat has been boosted by strong demand for its new ice-cream range

The firm has identified Yorkshire as one of its best performing areas and it is scouring the county for new sites.

In the year to June 30, Hotel Chocolat said revenue rose 14 per cent to £132m and it expects that pre-tax profit to be in line with market expectations.

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The group opened 16 Hotel Chocolat locations in the year contributing 5 per cent to group sales year-on-year. Two of the new openings were in the US and it has entered into a joint venture in Japan which opened two locations in Tokyo.

The firm said trading over the summer has been in line with management’s expectations.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive, said: “I’m really pleased with our performance this year, delivering strong growth across all parts of the Hotel Chocolat multi-channel, direct-to-consumer model.

"New activities in the year included openings in the US and Japan; the launch of the Velvetiser - our in-home drinking chocolate system; and the introduction of our VIP ME rewards card scheme, all of which present substantial future growth opportunities."

He said the firm's pace of innovation is "relentless".

"In our drinks and ices range we are seeing the most prolific new product Instagramming in our history, with Billionaire’s Sundaes, Choc Shakes and Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Lollies generating lots of excitement."

Zoe Mills, retail analyst at GlobalData, said: "Hotel Chocolat’s stores are essential in encouraging consumers to purchase, particularly where shoppers are looking for a gift as staff knowledge allows them to make informed purchases.

"With a number of pockets of the UK still untapped, it has potential for further store openings in its next financial year."

Analyst Wayne Brown at Liberum added: "This is a very impressive performance and sets Hotel Chocolat in stark contrast to the broader retail sector.

"Management’s strategy to broaden the group's routes to market, invest in innovation and more latterly customer loyalty are combining to deliver outperformance."

Hotel Chocolat expects to announce its annual results on September 24.