Hotel Chocolat CEO Angus Thirlwell

Luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat (HOTC) has reported a sweet Christmas trading period as sales recorded a double-digit rise in the 13 weeks to 31 December.

Total group revenue for the period increased 15% compared with the prior year as the business registered growth across its retail, digital and wholesale channels.

Hotel Chocolate also opened 10 new shops during the six months ended December, giving the group a total portfolio of 100 stores in the UK.

Trading since December continued to be in line with management’s expectations, it said in a short trading update this morning.

“We performed well, our new store openings contributed 6% of our growth in the period, with the balance of the growth coming from existing stores, digital and wholesale channels,” co-founder and CEO Angus Thirlwell added.

“Constant innovation saw our largest ever seasonal range in Christmas 2017 and we maintained strong availability of products to capitalize on the last minute rush, without any excess stock overhang.

“Highlights included a successful cocoa beauty launch, with a strong story behind it; rooted in our Caribbean eco-hotel and plantation. The launch of Supermilk Pure, our first-ever no-added-sugar milk chocolate, was also very successful and resonated strongly with customers seeking wellness and authenticity without compromise.”

Shares in Hotel Chocolat have fallen 3.5% today despite the strong performance to 333p.