House of Brussels Chocolates (HBSL) believes that restructuring and the implementation of a strategic business plan have put the firm in a strong position. Financial results for the year ended 30 April 2003 certainlyappear to bear this out -group revenue over the period increased by 34 per cent.
Over the past year, HBSL has been changing its focus from retail to manufacturing and wholesale. The firm recorded a 134 per cent increase in wholesale revenues, and a corresponding decrease in revenues derived from retail operations in 2003 compared to 2002. This, says the company, is reflective of its determination to pursue large wholesale contracts as the primary revenue source.
HBSL's cost of sales increased to $1,778,100 for the year ended 30 April 2003, compared to cost of sales of $1,502,418 for the year ended 30 April 2002. This represents an increase of $275,682 or 18 per cent. It should be noted that the increase in cost of sales - 18 per cent - is markedly lower than the increase in revenues - 34 per cent. As a result, HBSL's gross profit margin increased to 42 per cent for the year ended 30 April 2003, compared to 34% for the year ended 30 April 2002.
Grant Petersen, managing director of House of Brussels Chocolates said: "Given the one-time costs last year of developing over 20 new products, going public and closing marginal retail operations, Brussels' transition to that of a wholesaler is remarkable. Furthermore, the launch of our new Sonic the Hedgehog Chocolate Bar occurred after the 2003 fiscal year end and accordingly we did not book any revenues related to our license agreement with Sega of America during 2003.
"An area that truly has us excited for the coming year is our proprietary No-Sugar-Added line of chocolates. If the expression of interest in this new product line from major retailers to date is any indication, Brussels should become a driving force in the rapidly growing health conscious gourmet chocolate market."
Evan Baergen, president of House of Brussels Chocolates said: "We anticipate that much of the sales effort expended during 2003 will result in increased sales in 2004. New orders are accumulating at a much higher pace than last year and sales of our Sonic the Hedgehog line have now begun.
"While Brussels' business is not yet sufficiently stable to provide accurate guidance, we do expect 2004 revenues to be a multiple of 2003 and it is our intent to update this guidance as the year progresses."
House of Brussels Chocolates has manufactured and distributed Belgian chocolates around the world since 1983. HBSL's signature product is a hedgehog - a molded chocolate design that blends the traditional Belgian symbol of good luck with taste for a strong customer appeal.
Other products in the HBSL line include an assortment of tourist oriented truffles including some made with genuine maple syrup and some with Canadian ice wine, fine quality chocolate bars made in several distinct flavors, and their recently introduced no-sugar-added/low-carbohydrate line of chocolate bars and truffles.