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18 January, 2022 - 20:47 By Tony Quested

No bar to chocolatier’s upwards momentum

Hotel Chocolat, the Cambridge chocolatier and retailer, increased Q2 revenue by 37 per cent year-on-year and by 63 per cent compared to the equivalent period in FY20.

First half revenue was 40 per cent higher on the prior year and 56 per cent up on the equivalent period of FY20.

The fresh surge was reported in a trading update for the 13 weeks to December 26. The board now expects trading to be marginally ahead of management's expectations for the current financial year.

In the UK, the strong brand position and multichannel model enabled growth of 38 per cent. New customer acquisition campaigns resulted in 38 per cent more active customers.

In the US, the digital-led strategy delivered growth of 128 per cent, with active customer database growth of 119 per cent.

In Japan, the group’s multi-channel joint venture achieved growth of 131 per cent. Since launching the VIP loyalty scheme 14 months ago, the database has grown by 1000 per cent to more than 100,000 active customers.

Hotel Chocolat says trading throughout the period has been encouraging and the board now expects trading to be marginally ahead of management's expectations for the current financial year. An official announcement is expected on March 2.

Co-founder and CEO Angus Thirlwell said: “These results demonstrate that the Hotel Chocolat brand is connecting with more customers, as we invest continually in new product creativity, driving growth across channels and categories and in our 'gentle farming' initiative supporting cacao-farming families.

“All our six growth drivers are behind the acceleration in sales: Velvetiser in-home drinks system, VIP Loyalty rewards, and Digital, whilst the USA, Global Wholesale and the Japan joint venture are finding the formula for sustained growth, and our UK domestic market still has huge potential.

“Our Velvetiser in-home drinks system was a star performer during the period. The majority of our subscription customers are now coming from our popular hot chocolate and coffee machines and drinks.

“We invested in refreshing our key chocolate gift ranges in the period and that resulted in an immediate and strong uplift in sales, particularly the higher price-point categories.”

• Photograph courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

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