Hotel Chocolat shuns elitism to sweeten Britain’s gloomier regions

Laura Onita
Angus Thirlwell: Hotel Chocolat increased its factory capacity by 25%

The boss of Hotel Chocolat today said he doesn’t want to be “elitist or snobby” as he aims to take his upmarket chocolate brand to less glamorous parts of the country.

Angus Thirlwell plans to open more stores on retail parks and in market towns. He said: “Premium chocolate brands can retreat into being elitist and snobby. We’ve always wanted to be uncompromising about ingredients but ditch being elitist.”

Thirlwell, who set up the firm with Peter Harris in 1993, has recently opened a shop in Teesside and another one will follow in Sunderland. The chocolatier today posted a 14.7% rise in revenues to £71.7 million for the 26 weeks to New Year’s Eve. Pre-tax profits also grew by 15.7% to £12.9 million.

Sales were lifted by a strong Christmas, 10 new stores and selling via Ocado and Amazon.

The co-founder is also expanding the Hotel Chocolat in Westfield in White City to be "four times the size".

The retailer revamped its subscription offering earlier this month introducing Mbox for £5.95 with delivery to allow chocolate lovers to have the treats "in their sports bag or briefcase not just at home on the sofa".