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Hotel Chocolat PBT rockets 84%

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Chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat has seen full-year profit-before-tax (PBT) rocket 84 per cent to £5.4 million as it continues to eye international expansion, it has been announced.

Group sales rose six per cent to £63.8 million in the twelve months ended June 30th 2012 while EBITDA reached £7.8 million, up 41 per cent year-on-year.

Commenting on the strong results, Hotel Chocolat’s Co-Founder and CEO Angus Thirlwell said: “The record-breaking increase in PBT, achieved despite a modest 7 per cent growth in net retailing space, is a testament to the investment we have put behind vertically integrating our business, resulting in improved efficiency, more innovative design and the quickest lead times.”

Over the course of the year, the specialist retailer has extended its brand, creating around 200 jobs to strengthen manufacturing and retail capabilities while also growing its bricks and mortar operation.

Hotel Chocolat’s UK store portfolio has been further optimised over the period with 10 new store openings and two relocations while travel retail also remained a focus for the group as it opened three stores in Kings Cross, Euston and London Luton airport.

As well as successfully launching its Roast & Conch format in Covent Garden, which offers a “more experiential proposition”, the group also opened its first Scottish store in Edinburgh as well as expanding internationally with two new stores in New York and Amsterdam.

The latest store, in Boucan, Saint Lucia, opened earlier this month and is a boutique hotel, restaurant and spa with an eco design that has been awarded Trip Advisor’s ‘Certificate of Excellence’ as well as appearing on Condé Nast Traveller’s ‘IT List 2012’.

As part of its ongoing expansion strategy, Hotel Chocolat has also announced the appointment of ex-Monsoon and The Body Shop executive Roger Williams, who will operate as International Director in a newly-created role which will focus on additional growth opportunities in the US and Europe.

Commenting on the hugely positive results, Thirlwell said: “I’m delighted to report that 2012 was a true “coming of age” year for Hotel Chocolat, in which we demonstrated the depth of our specialist offer from cocoa roasting in Covent Garden to cacao cuisine fine dining on our estate in St Lucia.

“The first full year of trading at our boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant in St Lucia has performed above our initial expectations and we are looking forward to integrating more of the concept within our UK business in the year ahead.

“Continued pressures on consumer spending led to more selective purchasing decisions, but with our focus on growing, manufacturing and retailing high quality chocolates we were able to reduce lead times whilst maintaining tight control over the supply chain to ensure that demand for key seasonal gifts, including the Signature Cabinet and Christmas chocolate selections were met.

“Whilst we expect consumer pressures to persist in 2013, we believe our investment over the past few years leaves us well-placed for the year ahead.”

Published on Tuesday 22 January by Editorial Assistant

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