Hotel Chocolat continued to find favour with consumers across the 13 weeks to 29 December. Its total revenues were up by 11 per cent over the previous year with new product introductions being well received. The business did, however, admit that supply chain inefficiencies had resulted in higher costs.
CEO Angus Thirlwell said: “This was another strong performance from Hotel Chocolat. In our domestic UK market, we grew our VIP-Me member base to over 1.1 million active members, as well as driving strong organic growth from our existing physical locations. We will continue to bring Hotel Chocolat to more locations in the UK where the deals are appropriate.” Thirlwell has been reported as seeking equivalent concessions to those achieved by retailers via CVA processes in locations where Hotel Chocolat is trading and paying considerably higher rents.
Commenting on international progress, Thirlwell added: “The USA and our joint venture in Japan are both delivering an encouraging performance. While much of 2019 was about getting started in these large new markets, 2020 will see us accelerate our supply chain transformation. This focus will rebalance us from being a UK-based company operating from owned channels to one more suitable for multichannel, multi-territory international supply.”
Product and service developments have included the launch of a refill subscription service for its Velvetiser hot chocolate maker which now boasts twelve variants as well as a new Nutmilk chocolate which is 100 per cent vegan and has been an instant hit with customers following plant-based diets.