Hotel Chocolat swings into loss, shares fall

Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat (LON: HOTC) has swung into the red amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the year ending in June, the retailer posted a pre-tax loss of £7.5m – compared to the £14.1m profit the same period a year earlier.

The group has said it is trading “in-line” with expectations for the first 12-weeks of this year.

“Whilst uncertainty will continue for all of us in the coming year, our pipeline of potential growth opportunities has never been stronger,” said Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive.

“We are working hard to anticipate potential trading scenarios for the year ahead and are planning prudently to be ready to adapt quickly and effectively as the situation evolves.

“To achieve this, we have invested in our ability to increase production and expand our supply chain capacity, as well as strengthen the leadership team to ensure a continued focus on product innovation, e-commerce, supply chain and sustainability.

“I am confident that the strategic progress we have achieved over the past year will build a stronger business in the medium-term with greater growth, profitability and brand appeal,” added Thirwell.

Online sales during the period were strong, as the group posted a 150% rise. Revenues fell by 14% in January-June as the group was forced to stop trading over lockdown and stores were closed over the critical Easter period.

Hotel Chocolat shares (LON: HOTC) are trading -2.86% at 340,00 (1032GMT).