February 21, 2018 / 7:52 AM / a year ago

Hotel Chocolat's profit boosted by new stores, digital reach

LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Hotel Chocolat, the British chocolatier, on Wednesday reported a 15 percent rise in first half revenue and profit as it expanded its reach across retail, digital and corporate channels.

The firm, which listed its shares in 2016, said it made a pretax profit of 12.9 million pounds ($18.0 million) on revenue of 71.7 million pounds and would pay an interim dividend of 0.6 pence.

Hotel Chocolat said recent trading, including the Valentine’s period, was in line with the board’s expectations.

“We continue to make good progress against our three key strategic objectives of opening more stores, improving our digital capability and increasing our production capacity,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Angus Thirlwell.

Operational highlights in the first half included ten new store openings, contributing 5 percent to group sales growth, and third party wholesale deals with retailers including Amazon and Ocado.

Shares in Hotel Chocolat, up 26 percent over the last year, closed Tuesday at 320 pence, valuing the business at 364 million pounds. ($1 = 0.7150 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)

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