Hotel Chocolat has pledged to return furlough money to the government after sales soared despite the closure of the British chocolatier’s stores during lockdown.
The firm said this morning that revenue for the eight weeks ended 25 April- which included Mother’s Day and Easter – was 19 per cent higher than the comparable period in 2019, before the pandemic.
Sales were up 60 per cent on 2020 levels, despite the six week closure of stores. Its shops were closed for five weeks during the same period last year, but were open for Mother’s Day.
Hotel Chocolat, which now expects full-year trading to be “significantly ahead of expectations”, said it will repay the £3.1m it received through the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
The high street retailer’s revenue growth during the period was driven by its digital channels and subscription products.
Since it was allowed to reopen its physical stores from 12 April, sales across all of the company’s channels have been “encouraging”, Hotel Chocolat said.