Hotel Chocolat enjoys Christmas boost but costs increase

Hotel Chocolat has revealed a boost in sales over Christmas, although bosses warned that the growth came at a higher-than-expected price.

Bosses at the chain said sales in the 13 weeks to December 29 jumped 11% compared with the same period last year, while sales in the six months to the same date rose 14%.

During the six-month period, the retailer opened nine new sites in the UK, two in the US and a further three in Japan through a joint venture.

To cope with international demand, the company said it would be changing the way its supply chain operates, to become more internationally focused.

Chief executive and co-founder Angus Thirwell said: “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.”

Hotel Chocolat added that, since December, sales continue to be in line with expectations, but “the cost to deliver this growth was modestly higher due to inefficiencies in the supply chain which are being addressed in 2020”.

The company said its home hot chocolate machine, the Velvetiser, “continued to grow in popularity” with customer demand for new recipes, including dark mint and white raspberry flavours, exceeding initial forecasts.