• Hotel Chocolat posts full-year pre-tax profit of £3m
  • Follows a £7m loss the previous year
  • Sales grow in stores and online as administrative expenses are slashed

Hotel Chocolat has swung to a full-year profit driven by tighter control of costs and sales growth within its stores and online.

The chocolatier posted a pre-tax profit of £3m for the 12 months ending June 28, 2015 compared to a £7m loss the previous year.

Group sales increased 10.2% to £81.1m during the period, according to documents filed at Companies House, while online sales reported double-digit growth. Strong seasonal ranges also helped its bricks-and-mortar business record positive like-for-like growth.

Hotel Chocolat said the cost of sales during the year remained broadly flat at around £27m, but administrative expenses dropped by £4.4m to £50.4m.

EBITDA advanced to £7.9m following a £1.6m loss the previous year, Hotel Chocolat added, as operating profits reached £3.5m compared with a £5.6m loss in 2013/14.

Hotel Chocolat said: “The group has delivered strong trading in all channels, building on the investments of the prior year, coupled with targeted cost reduction.”

The chocolatier opened four new stores during the period and said it had launched a further six since the year end, taking its UK portfolio to 81 shops.

International plans

However, the retailer abandoned its US trial during the financial year, closing both pilot stores. It instead focused on the UK and Scandinavia, where it now has three stores in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Last week, Hotel Chocolat founder and boss Angus Thirlwell revealed the retailer is preparing to launch a new website to further grow its presence overseas.

Thirlwell said: “One of the big advantages of the new platform is that we can, at quite reasonable cost, get websites up for different international markets. With our existing site it is very cumbersome, long and consequently costly to even think about trading online in different countries.

“This will open up new opportunities for us to build particularly on the bridgehead we have made into Scandinavia. We will use the Danish market, which is a small, affluent, but challenging market, as our training ground to get match fit to do international really well, before we take on a larger market.”