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HOTEL CHOCOLAT ONLINE SALES BOOSTED DUE TO PANDEMIC

Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat online sales and profits boosted, despite disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic.

The British retailer reported it had achieved sales growth in the UK, Japan and US as online sales more than tripled, while stores were closed due to national lockdowns for most of the year.

Angus Thirlwell, the Chief Executive and Co-founder of Hotel Chocolat said the company has extended both its distribution centre and its factory capacity during the year to help drive growth through partners including Amazon, Ocado and John Lewis, as well as its own website.

It extended production to 24 hours a day, enabling it to make up to 40% more chocolate, and now has outline planning permission to extend its factory, boosting capacity by another 200%.

The company recorded 600,000 new online customers in the UK representing 38% growth to its loyalty ‘VIP Me’ database that previously included 1.5 million people and now plans to open 3 new stores, including one in Edinburgh, as well as reopening all existing sites.

In the 6 months to December, 27, the retailer reported sales of £101.9 million, that’s 11% up from £91.7 million recorded same time last year.

Pre-tax profits rose by 15% at £15.5 million for the same period in comparison to last years figures.

Sales in the US rose 47% in October, although stock shortages held back growth in December and in Japan, where no lockdowns were in place during the period, sales more than tripled as Hotel Chocolat opened 11 new outlets with its joint-venture partner.

Thirlwell said:

We certainly kept the chocolate flowing thanks to our online capabilities and multichannel expertise. We recorded superb results in the UK, USA and Japan despite Covid-19 restrictions affecting all our physical locations.

We achieved sales growth during those periods when all UK physical locations were closed, demonstrating the brand’s appeal to our loyal customers, and our flexible business model.

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