Hotel Chocolat is a textbook example of how to pivot in a crisis. With a predominantly bricks and mortar footprint in the UK, the pandemic could have been an existential event. Instead, it encouraged them to look at expansion, using the Internet to sell their products to a broader audience.

That in itself is nothing new. However, the company has a unique brand offering. By running their own organic Cocoa farm, along with a hotel and visitor centre, they have a unique story that appeals to the current sustainability-minded generation.

Explaining their strategy clearly to their investors and the market, gave stakeholders the confidence to back them when they were at a vulnerable point.

Last week, the company reported a 56% rise in first-half profits for the year, on the back of growth across the UK, US and Japan.

CEO Angus Thirlwell, who co-founded the business in 1993, stated:

The multi-channel performance of the UK remains encouraging, and the new markets continue to show promising potential for growth and profitability.

The company’s share-price, which spiked at the end of February, eased back in the first week of March, which is not surprising given the geopolitical events. However, the business is now worth £578m ($758m) as of 8 March 2022, and Thirwell still retains 27% of the equity.

It appears to be emerging as a luxury market competitor to Godiva, who was sold to Turkish conglomerate, Yıldız, in 2007 for a similar value and decided to shut all their stores in the US in 2021.

It will be interesting to see how each of these companies navigates the market, leaning into a greater online presence, but with different identities.

Photo by Martin Pettitt | Flickr


  • Nick Baskett is the editor in Chief at Bartalks. He holds a diploma from the Financial Times as a Non Executive Director and works as a consultant across multiple industries. Nick has owned multiple businesses, including an award-winning restaurant and coffee shop in North Macedonia.

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