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Hotel Chocolat makes 'good headway' in first half

Hotel Chocolat has reported a 28% increase in first half pre-tax profit after the company benefited from improved ranges and strong availability over the key Christmas trading period.

FOOD & DRINK

Hotel Chocolat makes 'good headway' in first half

In the six months to 25 December, pre-tax profit rose to £11.2 million from £8.8 million in the same period in the previous year.

Reported revenue climbed by 14% to £62.5 million as the company saw strong sales growth across retail, digital and corporate channels.

Underlying EBITDA increased by 27% to £13.7 million.

During the period, the company opened ten new stores which contributed 4% to group sales year-on-year.

Improved Christmas ranges and strong availability resulted in increases in footfall, items per basket and a mix shift to higher priced gift items

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: "This has been another period of good progress for Hotel Chocolat with strong growth in both sales and profitability. The critical Christmas period was very successful, helped by good availability, popular and innovative new ranges and significantly increased digital transactions. We have strong plans in place for the key spring seasons of Mother's Day and Easter and are confident of further progress.”

Hotel Chocolat said it completed significant capital investments at its factory in September which improved manufacturing capacity by 20%. The increase enabled the company to produce more stock and maintain strong availability right up to the end of the Christmas season. Improved efficiency supported a gross margin increase of 0.6 percentage points.

Thirlwell added: "We continue to make good headway against our three key strategic objectives of opening more stores, improving our digital capability and increasing our production capacity."

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