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Hotel Chocolat shares a little sweeter after trading update

The AIM 100 chocolatier said new initiatives such as a loyalty scheme and its Velvetiser in-home drinking chocolate system had helped boost sales in its last financial year

Hotel Chocolat store
The company had also opened 16 stores over the year

Shares in Hotel Chocolat Group PLC (LON:HOTC) were a little sweeter on Wednesday after a solid trading update.

The AIM 100 chocolatier said revenues for the year ended 30 June had risen 14% on the prior year, adding that full-year pre-tax profits were expected to be in line with market expectations.

WATCH: Hotel Chocolat sees sweet opportunity, expands chocolate shops to New York

New store openings had numbered 16 during the year, which had helped boost sales by 5%. Two of the new stores were in the US while a new joint venture had also seen two outlets open their doors in Japan.

The company also said that trading in the first weeks of its current year had been in line with management expectations.

Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat’s co-founder and chief executive, said new initiatives launched during the year, namely its Velvetiser in-home drinking chocolate system and a VIP ME rewards scheme, provided “substantial future growth opportunities” going forward in addition to the new store openings.

He added that its new product ranges were “generating lots of excitement”, with the company witnessing the “most prolific new product Instagramming” in its history.

Trading “beating expectations”, says broker

In a note, analysts at the company’s ‘house’ broker Liberum said the performance was “beating expectations” and that the strategy of broadening routes to market and investing in innovation and customer loyalty was “combining to deliver outperformance”.

They added that with the UK retail model accelerating its growth trajectory and “nascent” international operations, the outlook for the group was “exciting”.

Liberum currently has Hotel Chocolat rated at ‘buy’ with a target price of 410p.

In late-morning, the shares were 2.7% higher at 364.5p.

Quick facts: Hotel Chocolat Group

Price: 422.5 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £488.13 m

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