Hotel Chocolat posts higher sales despite shutting stores in lockdown

PA

Hotel Chocolat has reported higher sales for the past year, despite enforced store closures hammering revenues for the key Easter period.

The company said its pre-tax profits slid by 83% to £2.4 million for the year to June 28, compared with the same period last year.

It said profits were “slightly ahead of expectations”, despite taking a hit from the impact of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, group revenues grew by 3% to £136 million, despite its UK stores being shut for about 12 weeks of the year.

In the first half, sales increased by 14% to £92 million, while sales slipped by 14% to £45 million in the second half after stores closed their doors.

The retailer, which runs 130 stores, told investors that trading has been “in line” with expectations over the first 12 weeks of the new financial year.

Online sales demand is about 150% higher than the same period last year, after customers turned further towards home deliveries during the pandemic.

Hotel Chocolat’s board said they believe the business is “well positioned to navigate existing and potential Covid-19 challenges”.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive, said: “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.”

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