Five cities targeted by delivery service

Chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat will launch an online delivery operation in five major US cities in October.

The service will be introduced in New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and San Francisco. Hotel Chocolat co-founder and managing director Angus Thirlwell said that US customers will be able to choose from about 100 products online. It has launched a new web site,, for the US.

Hotel Chocolat will use a Boston-based distribution company to ship products to customers.

Thirlwell said it would consider opening stores in the US in 2009, depending on the success of its US online launch. “In America, we detect there is substantial upside and the market is waking up to quality chocolate,” Thirlwell said.

In the UK, Hotel Chocolat generated sales of just under£39 million for the year to the end of June. It plans to open an additional eight stores to its existing 22 outlets in the UK before July 2008.