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UK News Profits melt away as Hotel Chocolat counts cost of pandemic

16:10  29 september  2020
16:10  29 september  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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Hotel Chocolat blamed difficulties supplying its customers for a slowdown in growth at the end of last year as it pursues expansion into the US and Japan. The company said profits in the six months to December 29 were up 14 per cent compared with the previous year. However, profit growth in the

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Hotel Chocolat has seen profits melt away as it counts the cost of the pandemic.

a bottle of wine: Hotel Chocolat reported a 3% rise in revenues for the year © Other Hotel Chocolat reported a 3% rise in revenues for the year

The chocolate maker and retailer reported a pre-tax loss of £7.5m for the year to 28 June, compared with a profit of £14.1m the year before.

Hotel Chocolat said impulse purchases fell © Sky News Screen Grab Hotel Chocolat said impulse purchases fell

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It was dragged into the red after writing down the value of assets by £10m due to the "current disruption".

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Sales had been up by 14% in the first half of the year, but tumbled by 14% in the second half, which included the key Easter period when stores were closed.

Overall for the year, revenues grew 3% to £136.3m.

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You’ll find all of Hotel Chocolat 's latest special offers right here – perfect for nibbling at home or for trying that specialty that you haven’t got round to yet. Hotel Chocolat uses cookies and other tracking technology to deliver personalised ads and content for an improved browsing experience.

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Chairman Andrew Gerrie said: "Having delivered a strong first-half performance, the second half of the year was materially disrupted by COVID-19 and the related restrictions, which led to the closing of all UK retail locations for 12 weeks, and the shutdown of our factory for eight weeks."

More recent trading showed how sales have shifted online, with digital demand up 150% over the summer.

Meanwhile, the company has closed five sites in commuter locations due to reduced footfall.

It said there had been a drop in "impulse" sales, particularly in London.

The group said it was in discussion with landlords "to find collaborative solutions to the ongoing disruption".

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Chief executive Angus Thirlwell told Sky News most were "in the bag" and rents had been paid for September but that other property owners were "not getting it".

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