‘Perfect for gifting’ is how Ideal Home magazine described Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser in the run up to Christmas, ‘This could make a great Christmas present for the hot chocolate-loving person in your life, or simply as a luxurious treat for you. Go on – treat yourself!’
And many of us did. Hotel Chocolat’s latest set of results confirm how clever marketing and a fantastic product innovation – in the shape of its luxurious £89 hot chocolate machine – has helped boost the retailer’s sales and profit performance. New store openings and international expansion were also cited as reasons behind the company’s double digit rise in half year sales, and 7% rise in pre-tax profits to £14.9 million for the period to 29 December 2019.
Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of the business, said it was “very pleased” with its UK growth and looking ahead is focused on being a “global brand” after expanding in the US and Japan.
The Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser is a great example of well-planned new product innovation driving sales. Described as an ‘in-home hot chocolate system, imagined by Hotel Chocolat, engineered by Dualit,’ sale have grown significantly in 2019.
Sales of the product were also boosted by a raft of new flavours including Tasmanian Mint, Habanero Chilli, and Maple & Pecan hot chocolates.
New growth opportunities
Hotel Chocolat, which was founded in 1993, opened nine new UK sites during the half-year taking its total portfolio in its home market to 125 sites. Additionally an increase in retail, wholesale and digital sales drove the strong performance.
The company reported that it achieved significant growth in its direct-to-consumer business, as it saw membership of its VIP service increase by 120% to 1.1 million active members.
Supply chain upgrades
Angus Thirlwell said: “This was another strong period for Hotel Chocolat. Our strong growth came from a wider variety of sales channels than in previous years, which led to some initial challenges in our supply chain.”
He added: “We are now making good progress with investments and upgrades in our supply chain which will fully address these inefficiencies and increase our international and multi-channel supply capability, ensuring we continue to deliver profitable growth.”