Wednesday 17 July 2019 8:23 am

Sweet like chocolate: Hotel Chocolat credits 'relentless' innovation for sales boost

Hotel Chocolat hailed its “relentless” innovation for a bumper rise in revenue for the 12 months to the end of June, it said in a trading update today.

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Sales soared 14 per cent to £132m for its financial year, while it expects profits to hit expectations.

Chief executive and co-founder Angus Thirlwell credited Hotel Chocolat’s innovation with the sales jump, pointing to new products such as an in-home hot chocolate system and a rewards scheme.

“Our pace of innovation is relentless. In our drinks and ices range we are seeing the most prolific new product Instagramming in our history, with Billionaire’s Sundaes, Choc Shakes and Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Lollies generating lots of excitement,” he added.

The chocolatier opened 16 new stores in the year, which added five per cent to sales revenue. Two of those stores opened in the US, while a separate joint venture in Japan saw another two stores launch in Tokyo.

Shares opened four per cent higher at 369.6p on the ebullient update.

It follows a 13 per cent revenue rise in its half-year results to £80.7m, while profit before tax grew seven per cent to £14m in those six months to Christmas.

“This is a very impressive performance and sets Hotel Chocolat in stark contrast to the broader retail sector,” analysts at Liberum said in a research note.

“Management’s strategy to broaden the group’s routes to market, invest in innovation and more latterly customer loyalty are combining to deliver outperformance.”

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The group beat our revenue forecast by 1.3% (£1.7m), which may result in a beat to our underlying profit before tax forecast, but is likely to have also helped support additional investment, particularly in the US,” Liberum added.

The broker called the retailer’s outlook “exciting”.

Main image credit: Getty