Hotel Chocolat records sales boost despite rising costs

The UK-based Hotel Chocolat Group has recorded an upturn in sales figures over the past six months, despite rising supply costs.

According to the business, for the 13-week and 26-week periods ended 29 December 2019, its revenues increased 11 per cent year-on-year. Furthermore, total group revenue for the 26-week period increased 14 per cent.

The second half of 2019 saw the company open nine new UK retail stores, bringing its total to 125 locations on a global level – which included two sites in the US and three new joint-venture locations in Japan, ending the period with four and five locations respectively.

The new openings contributed three percentage points of the 14 per cent total
Group revenue growth. Trading for the 13-week period and since December continues to be in line with management’s expectations, though the firm admitted that costs were rising due to  ‘inefficiencies in the supply chain which are being addressed
in 2020.’

Angus Thirlwell, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “This was another strong performance from Hotel Chocolat. In our domestic UK market, we grew our VIP-Me member base to over 1.1m active members, as well as driving strong organic growth from our existing physical locations.

We will continue to bring Hotel Chocolat to more locations in the UK where the deals are appropriate.

“The USA and our joint venture in Japan are both delivering an encouraging performance, growing to four and five locations respectively by the end of period. While much of 2019 was about getting started in these large new markets,
2020 will see us accelerate our supply-chain transformation. This focus will rebalance us from being a UK-based company operating from owned channels, to one more suitable for multi-channel multi-territory international supply.

“Our Velvetiser in-home hot chocolate system continued to grow in popularity and is now supported by our new refill subscription service, with 12 flavours to choose from including new Dark Mint and Raspberry White. Customer demand for the new recipes has exceeded our initial forecasts and we are taking pre-orders for our next batch,” added Thirlwell, who explained the business had also recently launched its latest nutmilk milk chocolate catering for vegans.

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