Hotel Chocolat looking to open 50 new stores

19th January 2023 | Jack Oliver

Hotel Chocolat plans to open 50 new shops in the UK after enjoying its best ever Christmas.

The chocolatier said it was considering a return to the US after an increase in sales of 10%. The retailer withdrew from the US last year following heavy losses.

The luxury brand was founded in 2004 as an online only retailer. It now has 125 outlets in the UK and plans to open 50 new stores in the next three to five years.

UK and Ireland stores posted a like-for-like sales increase of 10% for the 9 weeks ending Christmas Day 2022. For the half-year (26 weeks to December 25), like-for-like sales were up by 7%. This number was 25% higher than pre-Covid levels.

The retailer did note that online revenues were lower year-on-year due to more customers beginning to revisit high street stores and a deliberately lower marketing spend.

The upmarket chocolate brand also said it was showing encouraging progress on its strategic plan, which involves an inventory reduction and a management of overhead costs, demonstrated by strong cash generation and an improving sales trend following record temperatures in the UK hitting consumer demands.

It added that its new store format and up-sized stores have performed strongly, leading to increased plans for UK store estate growth.

Hotel Chocolat did however see a downward tick in international sales, with group sales down in the second half of the year by 9%. The retailer said it will continue to see temporary year-on-year reductions in international revenues from Japan and the United States while adaptations to its strategy continued to take place.

Angus Thirwell, co-founder and chief executive officer of Hotel Chocolat, said: “We have grown Hotel Chocolat by 65% over the period since the start of the pandemic, adapting to some of the most difficult economic conditions on record. Taking a year, over FY23, to sharpen-up our operating model is the right thing to do, before we embark on further pursuit of the multiple growth opportunities ahead for our brand.”


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