hotel chocolat angus thirlwell

CEO Angus Thirlwell said he was “delighted” with the “great” set of results,

Upmarket confectioner Hotel Chocolat has enjoyed a bumper first half and Christmas as it batted aside inflationary pressures with profits outpacing sales growth

Revenues jumped 40% higher to £142.9m in the 26 weeks ended 26 December as it won over new customers in the UK and US

In the UK, the group welcomed an additional 600,000 customers to increase its active base by 38% to 2.3 million, while in the US, digital-led growth pushed up numbers by 119%, with the Velvetiser in-home drinks system proving “a great hit”

Hotel Chocolat’s joint venture in Japan also bore fruit, with sales soaring by 119% in the half

As a result, underlying EBITDA increased 35% to £33.8m and pre-tax profits rose 56% to £24.1m

CEO and co-founder Angus Thirlwell said he was “delighted” with the “great” set of results, which indicated the global strength of the Hotel Chocolat brand and the DTC business model

“These results enable continued new job creation based in our British manufacturing operations, as well as roles in technology and multi-channel retailing,” he added

“Our unparalleled pipeline of new product launches means I am confident we will be able to excite and retain their custom for many years ahead.

The group said its trading had continued to be in line with board expectations in 2022, with the multi-channel performance in the UK remaining “encouraging” and the new overseas markets showing “promising potential for growth and profitability”

“The last two years have been a period of very significant change both globally and within the business as we have evolved from a UK store-led brand to a globally ambitious digital-led brand with a broad-range of luxury cacao products,” Thirlwell added

“The team has successfully managed to adapt to the continuously changing landscape and we have remained focused on our opportunities, delivering a sustained acceleration in growth over the last 18 months

“A focus on bringing happiness through chocolate in every aspect of our business model will further strengthen and nurture the appeal of our brand, helping us achieve our goal of becoming the leading global direct-to-consumer premium chocolate brand.”

Shares sank 2.2% to 440p today, falling away after a positive start.