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Hotel Chocolat reaps rewards of launching mobile-optimised site

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Hotel Chocolat has seen online sales rise 16% year on year in 2017 propelled by strong mobile growth.

The IRUK Top500 research Top 50 retailer launched a mobile-optimised site in January 2017 and mobile traffic now accounts for 62% of all web traffic, while mobile conversion rose by 19%, from 2.6% to 3.1%.

Hotel Chocolat also supplied wholesale to online retailers including Amazon and Ocado, contributing 6% to digital growth.

Overall the retailer logged revenues of £71.7m in the six months to December 31. That’s 15% up on the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £12.9m were also 15% ahead.

The retailer also grew its subscription business with the launch of a weekly Mbox, an alternatively to the monthly Tasting Club. The new box, said the retailer, was “the most convenient was to receive a personal supply of Hotel Chocolat’s most popular recipes each week in individually wrapped portions”.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat [IRDX RHCH], commented: “This has been another period of strong progress for Hotel Chocolat with growth in both sales and profits. The critical Christmas period was again successful, helped by further improvements in availability, our best ever seasonal range and the extension of our one-stop gift solutions range. We have exciting plans in place for the key spring seasons of Mother’s Day and Easter, and have recently launched a new cacao beauty range and a weekly subscription called Mbox. We are confident of further progress during the year.

He said recent trading, including the Valentine’s period, was in line with the board’s expectations and that the business continued “to make good progress against our three key strategic objectives of opening more stores, improving our digital capability and increasing our production capacity”.

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