Hotel Chocolat continues to thrive despite the pandemic and the changes in consumer shopping habits, seeing revenues up 40% year on year to £142.9m, generating a pre-tax profit of £24.1m, a rise of 56% from pre-Covid levels in 2021.
Much of this has been delivered by digital and omni-channel growth, with multi-channel multi-category sales up 24% over two years against FY20, pre-Covid. Digital sales have been particularly significant for the brand in the US, where its has grown unique customers levels by 119%. In the UK, there has been a 38% increase in its active customer database to 2.3 million users.
Growth has been generated in Japan, too, though much of this has come through increased sales in stores, malls and franchises, says the company. It has opened a further nine stores in Japan and is now trading from 31 locations, plus online and wholesale, with active VIP customers up by 1,000%.
Commenting on the results, analyst Neil Shah, Director of Research at Edison Group says: “Despite pressures from the pandemic, Hotel Chocolat’s half-year results for FY 21/22 highlight an impressive performance, with revenue up 40% year-on-year to £142.9m and a pre-tax profit of £24.1m – up 56% against FY21. In terms of operations, with sales growth up by 40% against FY21 and 56% from pre-Covid levels in FY20, the Group has successfully navigated its transition from a store-led brand to a digital-led brand.
“Hotel Chocolat has secured a brand appeal increase in key markets including the UK, USA, and Japan. The Group’s active customer database in the UK rose by 38% year-on-year to 2.3m, and consumer sales were up by 150% and 131% on the prior year in the USA and Japan respectively. In the USA, online growth was especially led by the Velvetiser product, with its high lifetime value.
“The launch of a Gentle Farming programme in Ghana in late 2021 confirms that Hotel Chocolat will continue to prioritise the expansion of its ESG credentials. Beyond this, the Group seem to be in a strong financial position for the rest of the year, with a net cash of £27m as of the end of February.”