Belfast Telegraph

Sweet success for newly listed Hotel Chocolat as sales surge

Sales at Hotel Chocolat came in ahead of expectations for the full year, helped by a Father's Day campaign that boosted the firm's performance.

The luxury chocolate chain said annual revenue rose 12% to £92.6 million, with the retailer's online arm seeing growth of 20%.

In May, the company listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market, valuing it at more than £200 million.

Co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said: "Hotel Chocolat has had a good start as a listed company, with pleasing growth slightly above expectations.

"We remain confident in our strategy. Our plans to invest further in our British chocolate manufacturing operations, in new stores, and in our digital offering are all progressing well."

The group said its Father's Day campaign, Better Than Socks, performed "particularly well" and that it plans to open four new stores this year.

Founded in 1993, Hotel Chocolat runs 81 stores, a hotel in St Lucia and restaurants in London and in Leeds.

City analysts expect the firm to turn a pre-tax profit of £6.9 million for the year.

Wayne Brown, at Liberum, said: "We believe that Hotel Chocolat possesses multiple attributes that support a high level of confidence in forecasts.

"It is a highly disruptive business and has proven defensive attributes irrespective of the economic backdrop; the customer base is largely UK; low ticket products and a large portion of its customers are ABC demographic; and it has a high-growth online business and a very 'sticky' core membership in its Tasting Club."