CEO of Hotel Chocolat praises staff as business records revenue upturn

The CEO of Hotel Chocolat, Angus Thirlwell, has revealed he is ‘incredibly proud’ of its teams, as the business posts a revenue boost in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, reports Neill Barston

Improvements in Japanese and US digital sales have seen the business record an annual 3% upturn in revenues to £136 million, amid broader product development plans.

According to the company’s latest preliminary figures for the 52 weeks ending June 2020, its sales boost came despite a dip in the second half of its financial year due to the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The business said that its performance over the past six months, including the crucial Easter period  that account for around 70% of revenues for that period had been notably hit by the closure of stores for 12 weeks at the height of the covid outbreak.

Despite the situation, the company confirmed that it has put in place rapid measures to counter the situation, which led to improved digital sales for the business that mitigated for the enforced closure of its stores.

Notably, the company said there had been further improvements to the start of its present financial year, including launches such as Velvetiser lattes, vegan gift-box assortments and new subscriptions including the Wonka-esque Inventing Room box.

The Company also announces that, reflecting the Group’s commitment to strong corporate governance, in order to enhance the balance of independent non-executive directors and executive directors on the Board, Chief Operating Officer, Matt Margereson, has today stepped down as a director of the Company.  He remains a key member of the Company’s executive management team.

Angus Thirlwell, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hotel Chocolat, said: “The events of 2020 have challenged all of us, but also brought out the best in us, ethically, competitively, and professionally, making us better equipped to face the future.

“The challenges of COVID-19 have pushed us to accelerate many of our existing plans and strategic initiatives, helping to; strengthen our financial position, improve our multichannel capability, deepen customer engagement and loyalty, and accelerate the rate of product innovation, whilst continuing to make good progress in our two new and sizeable markets of the USA and Japan.

“Whilst uncertainty will continue for all of us in the coming year, our pipeline of potential growth opportunities has never been stronger. We are working hard to anticipate potential trading scenarios for the year ahead and are planning prudently to be ready to adapt quickly and effectively as the situation evolves. To achieve this, we have invested in our ability to increase production and expand our supply chain capacity as well as strengthen the leadership team to ensure a continued focus on product innovation, e-commerce, supply chain and sustainability.

“I am confident that the strategic progress we have achieved over the past year will build a stronger business in the medium-term with greater growth, profitability and brand appeal.

“We have today announced that our Chief Operating Officer, Matt Margereson, is moving off the PLC Board in order that we can achieve a stronger Non-Executive balance. As he has done since 2015, Matt will continue to lead, direct and steer our manufacturing and distribution operations and the implementation of the significant investments we are making in our production and supply capacity.

“Finally, I would like to thank our colleagues for their hard work during the year. I am incredibly proud of how Hotel Chocolat has adapted to the disruption caused by COVID-19 and I would like to also thank our customers for their continued loyalty, and our partners for their collaboration.”

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