Hotel Chocolat upgrades full year profit forecast
Hotel Chocolat has grown its full year sales by 21% to £165 million year-on-year.
Due to the strong performance in the 12 months to 27 June, the retailer now anticipates underlying pre-tax profit for the year will be higher than previous expectations.
Hotel Chocolat said group trading has remained strong since its previous trading update in May. Group sales in the 10 weeks to 27 June rose by 34% compared to the same period in 2019 and by 63% versus the same period in 2020 when all physical stores were closed.
Due to the retailer growing its UK customer database by 66% to three million in the 18 months since December 2019, digital and subscription sales now account for a substantially larger proportion of Hotel Chocolat’s total revenue.
Giving an update on its physical stores, the retailer said the UK performance since shops reopened after lockdown on 12 April has been encouraging with strong trading in smaller cities and market towns offsetting lower footfall in commuter and tourist locations.
Meanwhile, product sales in the USA rose by 62% on the prior year with over 75% of sales achieved directly through Hotel Chocolat’s US website. Sales through the company’s joint venture in Japan climbed by 277% in the period.
Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: “I am fortunate to be able to say that the growth avenues ahead of us have never been better in Hotel Chocolat’s history. The strategies we put in place two years ago are now delivering accelerated growth. Our Velvetiser in-home drinks system, our VIP and digital programmes, and our USA and Japanese joint-venture start-ups have step-changed our growth potential.
“Our goal of becoming the most tech-activated chocolate brand is moving forward in leaps and bounds and is already helping to power our major achievements and future growth. Indeed, this year we expect more than 50% of our sales to come from digital, partners, and subscription-continuity models, reflecting how Hotel Chocolat is growing and evolving. Our brand-building stores will continue to play a pivotal role in our digital-led business, with an unrivalled ability to introduce new customers to our brand.”
Hotel Chocolat will be creating over 250 new roles this year with jobs ranging from designers and data specialists to engineers and apprentices.
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