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Hotel Chocolat bucks gloomy Christmas with strong sales

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Hotel Chocolat bucks gloomy Christmas with strong sales
FILE PHOTO: Hotel Chocolat products are seen on sale at Rabot 1745, in London, Britain December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo   -   Copyright  Peter Nicholls(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Hotel Chocolat <HOTC.L> bucked the trend of a disappointing Christmas for many of Britain’s retailers, reporting strong sales with growth in all channels – retail, digital and wholesale.

While British consumers cut back on spending in the three months to December for the first time since last spring, according to official data, Hotel Chocolat said its total revenue increased 15 percent year-on-year over the 13 weeks to Dec. 30.

Trading in the new year had continued to be in line with management’s expectations, the luxury chocolate maker said.

The company trades from 117 UK stores and a handful overseas.

“Our new store openings (15 in the second half of 2018) contributed 5 percent of the growth in the period, with the balance coming from existing stores, digital and wholesale channels,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Angus Thirlwell.

He highlighted the “Velvetiser in-home hot chocolate system” and its new Chocolat Cream Liqueur as particularly good sellers.

Hotel Chocolat opened shops in New York and Tokyo last year, adding to a handful in Denmark, and said initial customer response had been “very encouraging”.

Shares in the company, which listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) at 148 pence in 2016, closed on Tuesday at 270 pence, valuing the business at 303 million pounds.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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