Hotel Chocolat has reported strong sales growth over Christmas after speeding up the pace of digital change in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hotel Chocolat posted group revenue up 11% over the 26 weeks to December 27. Over 13 weeks to December 27, sales climbed 19%.

In its domestic UK market, Hotel Chocolat switched its focus to digital and the retailer said “online growth more than offset the impact of the temporary closures of physical retail due to Covid restrictions”. 

Trading since December remains in line with management expectations, ”despite materially higher investments in the acceleration of our digital and international growth plan, and ongoing pandemic-related response costs”.

Hotel Chocolat co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said: “The strength of the brand and our ability to flex our multichannel model meant that despite the challenging environment every business and every family has faced, we were able to keep on delivering chocolate happiness, launch new products and deliver strong sales growth.

“The growth momentum stepped up in Japan and the USA, and we have seen that it’s underpinned by what the Hotel Chocolat brand brings that is differentiated and exciting to these mega markets. Encouragingly, we have also made significant progress in the period in building an operational platform for future growth.

“We accelerated several of our digital growth initiatives over the last year and can clearly see the huge potential ahead. Whilst there is still further near-term pandemic-related uncertainty, and ongoing increased costs in reacting to it, I am increasingly confident that in the medium-term we can deliver significant further growth in the UK, USA and Japan.”