Hotel Chocolat’s double digit rise in half-year sales has been driven by new store openings and international expansion, the company said in its interim results, adding strong sales growth reflected continued brand appeal and ongoing product innovation.
Underlying Ebitda rose 7% to £18.5m while profit before tax was up 7% to £14.9m. The company’s interim dividend of 0.6 per share is unchanged.
Hotel Chocolat ended the period, 29 December 2019, with nine new UK locations, two new stores in the US and three in Japan, contributing three percentage points to the group’s sales growth.
Its VIP membership grew by +120% to 1.1m active members and sales of its Velvetiser hot chocolate system had increased 200% year-on-year.
Nigel Frith, a senior market analyst at asktraders.com, told Confectionerynews: “Hotel Chocolat proved that it is hitting the sweetspot with consumers after reporting a 14% rise in revenue. Thanks to new stores both in the UK and abroad.
“New markets in Japan and the US are still in initial stages of development, with plenty of potential. Hotel Chocolat has made good progress at gaining loyal customers in the UK. It is well positioned to take advantage of growing demand for better quality chocolate products and ethical businesses.”
Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive officer of Hotel Chocolat, said: “This was another strong period for Hotel Chocolat. Our new store openings contributed three percentage points of the growth in the period, with the remaining balance coming from existing locations, digital and wholesale channels. While our new markets in the US and Japan are still in the early stages of development, consumer response to the brand is encouraging, sales are growing, and we believe we have a deliverable plan to achieve attractive returns.
“Our strong growth came from a wider variety of sales channels than in previous years, which led to some initial challenges in our supply chain. We are now making good progress with investments and upgrades in our supply chain, which will fully address these inefficiencies and increase our international and multi-channel supply capability, ensuring we continue to deliver profitable growth.”