Hotel Chocolat posts strong full year sales uplift
Hotel Chocolat increased its revenue by 37% to £226 million in the year to 26 June after trade was boosted by growth in customer numbers and investment in new categories.
UK sales climbed by 35% year-on-year and by 68% on pre-pandemic levels. Store sales grew by 23% on three years ago.
While underlying pre-tax profit increased by 126% to £21.7 million, the company posted a statutory loss of £9.4 million for the period compared to a profit of £3.7 million a year earlier. Hotel Chocolat said this was a result of a number of factors including costs relating to its exit from direct-to-consumer operations in the US and the impairment of loans to its Japanese joint venture.
During the year, Hotel Chocolat grew its active customer database by 15% to two million as order frequency increased by 14%.
Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: “Much of what we are publishing today in terms of the business strategy has already been announced to the market in July.
“Since then, the performance of our retail stores continues to beat 2019 pre-covid levels and subscriptions are in growth too. We have reduced online marketing spend resulting in lower volume, but higher quality full-price sales. Our wholesale partners are also showing caution too.
“The Hotel Chocolat brand has huge resonance with shoppers and despite the macro-economic environment, people are still treating themselves with affordable luxury and remaining loyal and we are winning new customers who recognise our quality.
“It goes without saying that the current environment is challenging on multiple fronts. Over the last few months, we have taken decisive steps to reduce risk and to fully pull all our self-help levers in both our manufacturing and retailing businesses. One thing is for sure, we will never compromise on the brand standards and values which have built our following to this point.”
Giving an update on more recent trading, the company said retail trading is currently in line with last year, although online and wholesale sales have softened.
It added: “With the five largest annual gifting seasons yet to come, the continued shift we’re seeing in channel mix towards retail stores offers the opportunity to mitigate the year-to date shortfall, meaning there are a range of potential outcomes for full year expectations. “
Hotel Chocolat has also announced that Andrew Gerrie has confirmed that he will be stepping down as chairman in 2023 to enable him to focus more on his other business ventures. In addition, Matt Pritchard will be leaving the business in 2023 to pursue new opportunities following nine years as chief financial officer.
Thirlwall added: “I’d like to personally thank Andrew Gerrie and Matt Pritchard for their contributions to Hotel Chocolat over many years, both having supported the group through the IPO and throughout the outstanding growth of the business and development of the brand.”
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