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Premium chocolatier Hotel Chocolat is seeking £50m from a placing as it reveals plans to float on the junior market of the London Stock Exchange.

The business, which has 84 stores, mainly in the UK, said it would use the money to continue to rollout shops, invest in increasing manufacturing capacity and improve its digital offering, including a new website and enhanced mobile/tablet compatibility.

Hotel Chocolat, founded in 1993 by Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris, recorded revenues of £81.1m in the year ended 28 June 2015, with EBITDA of £7.9m.

Co-founder and CEO Angus Thirlwell, said: “Hotel Chocolat is built on our core values of authenticity, originality and ethical trading. We are very excited at the prospect of listing as it is the next logical step in our growth plans and will enable us to accelerate the many initiatives that we have in place, in particular additional investment in our British chocolate manufacturing, in new stores and in our digital offering.”

The group expects to raise £50m from the issue of new shares and sale of existing shares by “certain selling shareholders”, with the admission to AIM expected in the next three months.

Liberum Capital is acting as nominated advisor and sole broker to the company on the float.

Morning update

French supermarket group Casino Group has reported full-year sales of €46.1bn, up 1.6% at constant exchange rates, as it registered a “marked recovery” in activity in France during the second half and market share gains at Géant Casino and Leader Price. Internationally, the retailer said its Colombian, Uruguayan and Argentinian businesses performed well. Trading profit was down considerably to €1.4bn, compared with €2.2bn in 2014, despite a “significant” recovery in profitability in its home market.

Waitrose got a timely boost ahead of tomorrow’s annual results. Sales in the week to 5 March were up 10.3% to £132.7m as the supermarket got a helping hand from the early fall of Mothering Sunday.

DS Smith, recycled packaging supplier for consumer goods, said in a trading update for the four months to 1 November that business had continued to progress in line with expectations, with good volume growth. CEO Miles Roberts said: “We are pleased with progress in the year to date as we continue to grow organically and integrate the businesses acquired over the past year, with a positive customer reaction. We aim to continue to develop our high quality packaging offering while extending our geographic reach. The performance of the business, together with the customer and market opportunities for growth, gives us confidence for the future.”

Yesterday in the City

Some of the gloss came off Morrisons (MRW) share price yesterday as the latest Kantar market share data flagged up a 3.2% fall in sales over the past 12 weeks. The stock, which bounced back into the FTSE 100 last week after news of the Amazon partnership, ended the day 3.7% down at 201.6p with full-year results due on Thursday.

Tesco (TSCO) on the other hand was one of the biggest FTSE 100 risers of the day, climbing 1.8% to 195.2p, as Kantar revealed the recent positive run had continued, with overall sales down just 0.8%.

Sainsbury’s (SBRY) also fell 1.3% to 266.9p on the latest numbers despite once again being the only one of the big four to increase overall spend with sales up for the eighth period in a row at 0.5%.

It was a day of general declines as mining companies put pressure on the FTSE 100, with the blue-chip index down 1% to 6,125.44 points.

The biggest fallers in terms of fmcg included Fever-Tree (FVR), down 3.4% to 525p, Greggs (GRG), down 3.3% to 1,103p, and Cranswick (CWK), down 2.8% to 1,930p.