High Street

Hotel Chocolat sees 200% digital sales boost during Q4

Confectionery retailer Hotel Chocolat has reported a 200% surge in digital sales during its  fourth quarter of trading.

This was supported by a 47% year-on year increase in the sales of subscriptions and recurring purchases.

It comes after the group reported a 3% increase in revenues to £136m for the year ended 30
June 2019.

The retailer said it remains confident about the prospects for its business and is looking to create 200 new jobs this year, primarily filling roles at its UK chocolate-making factory and enlarged distribution centre.

Some 119 of its 125 UK locations are currently open for business. Hotel Chocolat said its sales in high Street locations are also performing “more strongly than in city-centre commuter locations”.

Whilst total sales from physical locations are lower year-on-year, it said digital growth remains “very strong” and group-wide sales since the end of the period remain in line with management expectations.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and CEO of Hotel Chocolat, said: “I’ve been hugely impressed by how our team have responded, culturally, professionally and ethically during the pandemic. The acceleration of change in the retail landscape has galvanised us to speed up our plans and investments in the opportunities we were already pursuing.

“Our physical retail usually accounts for over 70% of sales in the second half, but all locations were closed for the entire Easter period this year and beyond. It is a testament to our lovely customers’ loyalty that they switched in droves to online and we contained the group impact to only -14% in the half.”

He added: “Online, our brand is now set to a significantly faster growth trajectory, delivering gifts, subscriptions and household indulgence. Some of this is attributable to Covid-accelerated change, but new concept launches, and digital enhancements have also supported growth.”

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