Hotel Chocolat plays it cool as Britain swelters in the heat

Laura Onita
Ice cream man: chief executive Angus Thirlwell: The Times/News Syndication

Chocolate may melt in hot weather but Hotel Chocolat’s sales didn’t, its boss said on Wednesday, thanks to its Ice Cream of the Gods and chilled drinks.

Co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said: “We’ve been working hard to entice people into our space. We’ve got tactics.”

Its Chocs to Chill and Cocoa beer have been popular too, Thirlwell added.

The business, which was set up with Peter Harris in 2004, said its revenues for the year to July 1 will be £116 million, a 12% increase on the previous year. Pre-tax profits are expected to be £12.8 million. Shares rose 2.8% to 355.5p.

The majority of its sales are in Britain, but Thirlwell is ready to take his posh chocolates to other “major markets”. It runs stores in Europe and last year opened a shop in Hong Kong to test the waters in Asia.

“Senior management have spent a lot of time treading the pavements and trying to make the call [where to open next],” he said.

Thirlwell was recently involved in a spat with grocer Waitrose after he accused it of copying one of Hotel Chocolat’s bars.

He said: “They decided to do the right thing and stopped making it. I’m meeting with the chief executive to have a chat over a cup of cocoa.”