Shares in AIM-listed retailer Hotel Chocolat (LON:HOTC) climbed by 2.18% to 380.10p (as of 14:30 GMT) after the firm reported an 11% improvement in revenues for the half year ended 27th December. Pre-tax profits for the period grew by 3% as the impact of COVID pushed gross margins down by 400 basis points.
CEO Angus Thirlwell commented: “The Hotel Chocolat brand stayed strong during a difficult period for all of us. We certainly kept the chocolate flowing thanks to our online capabilities and multichannel expertise. We recorded superb results in the UK, USA and Japan despite Covid-19 restrictions affecting all our physical locations. We achieved sales growth during those periods when all UK physical locations were closed, demonstrating the brand’s appeal to our loyal customers, and our flexible business model.
“Databases of active customers grew substantially in all three markets, underpinning our confidence of growth in the years to come. In the UK, our multichannel model truly came of age, and excitingly, both Japan and the USA firmly stepped up from the ‘test and learn’ phase into ‘grow and scale’. Total brand sales, through direct-to-consumer and partner-channels combined, increased 16% year-on-year.
“Huge thanks go to all the Hotel Chocolat family who worked tirelessly to safely and creatively adapt the business and deliver these results. We know that we all played a role in maintaining morale and bringing happiness through chocolate in all the countries we operate in.
“We look forward to building the Hotel Chocolat brand further as we move closer to our goal of becoming the leading global d irect-to-consumer premium chocolate brand“.