Hotel Chocolat’s share price rocketed by more than a quarter yesterday on its first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange.
The retailer’s share price surged 28% from 148p to 190p on Tuesday, driving its market cap from £167m to around £214m.
Hotel Chocolat revealed last week that it was listing 8.1 million new shares and 29.4 million existing shares on AIM, in a move designed to raise £55.5m from institutional and other investors.
Co-founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris have retained a 66% stake in the business between them. Their combined share rose £30m in value to £140m yesterday.
Thirlwell told Retail Week that the cash injection will be used to expand its 81-store portfolio in the UK, improve its website to open up more international markets and increase efficiency within its supply chain and manufacturing.
In an exclusive interview with Retail Week, Thirlwell said 2016/17 would be a “digital year” for Hotel Chocolat, with the launch of its new-look website poised for after Christmas.
“We will be investing further in our digital model, taking it from just ‘good’ on to the next level,” he said.
“In the first six months of this financial year, to the end of December, our online sales were 30% up – and that’s pretty organic. The website is working extremely well, but we know we can take it to ‘excellent’.
“One of the big wins we will get from that is that it enables us to do international locations very cost-effectively. You can get a locally translated website for tens of thousands of pounds, whereas previously it would have cost us hundreds of thousands, plus several months of hard work.”
Hotel Chocolat currently has three stores in Denmark, but said the retailer could target “just about any developed economy” through the new ecommerce platform as it targets international growth.