Hotel Chocolat profits up 90%

Luxury chocolatier and retailer Hotel Chocolat has recorded a massive increase in profits for the year to 26 June 2016, thanks to a focus on the dark side.

Revenues increased from £81m in the preceding year to £91m, with profits jumping from £2.9m to £5.6m, an increase of 91%. Major growth areas came through the opening of seven new retail outlets and a big push for online sales, which rose by 20%.

The company attributed the performance to the growing popularity of what it described as “hedonistic chocolate”, made with higher cocoa content and less sugar, offering a more luxurious taste with perceived healthier content.

The Rare and Vintage range was launched this month, which includes 20 ‘super-premium’ fine cocoa recipes, and the company also said in the update that it had improved its children’s ranges – these will be launched before Christmas.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive, said: “Our results are strong, the Hotel Chocolat brand has continued to strengthen and we have made good progress with our three strategic priorities of investing further in our British chocolate manufacturing operations, growing our store estate and developing our digital offering.”

Hotel Chocolat has 81 stores nationwide as well as restaurants in London and Leeds, and even a hotel in St Lucia. Its manufacturing base is in Huntingdon, while the headquarters are in Royston.

Three new stores have been opened so far in the 2017 financial year – a café and shop have opened in Worcester and Chelmsford, and a boutique has opened in Peterborough.

Two train station outlets are also planned, in London’s Clapham Junction and Euston. One further café and shop is expected to open in Bury St Edmunds, and two boutiques will open at the designer outlet in Cheshire Oaks. There will also be a new store in Crawley, West Sussex.

In May, Hotel Chocolat saw shares surge after the company listed on the stock market for the first time.

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