Belfast Telegraph

Hotel Chocolat battles retail gloom with rising sales

The chocolate chain’s success comes amid multiple retail collapses on the high street.

Hotel Chocolat has bagged double-digit sales growth as it opened new stores during a difficult time for rival retailers.

The chocolate specialist’s revenue for the year ended July 1 was £116 million, up 12% year on year.

Hotel Chocolat opened 15 stores over the period, which helped lift sales by 6%.

The firm said profit before tax for the full year will be in line with the market’s expectations of £12.8 million.

The company’s shares were up 2.3% or 8p to 354p on the news.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: “Whilst there has been considerable recent media coverage of retail generally, we are encouraged by the performance of both our new and existing locations.

“Customers are continuing to respond well to our luxury brand and lifestyle propositions.”

He said the recent heatwave had helped with sales of Hotel Chocolat’s ice creams and chilled chocolate drinks.

Retailers have been battling against falling footfall, rising costs and weak consumer confidence, with several household names falling into administration this year.

Liberum analysts said: “This trading update is very strong in the context of the retail sector and there is no doubt that the strength of the brand, its balance sheet and cash flow profile all point to what is a sustainable growth model.”

They said Hotel Chocolat may decide to expand internationally “sooner rather than later”.

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