British luxury chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat has reported a 10% year-on-year decline in sales its financial year 2023 due to a decline in online and international demand.
In the UK, the premium chocolate maker saw revenue down 8%, with store sales up 8% and digital and wholesale partners reporting 24% decline.
Underlying EBITDA fell to £24.1 million from £40.8 million in 2022.
In the first quarter of its 2024 financial year, UK store revenues increased 14% on a year-on-year basis and 13% like for like.
The group relaunched its US operations through the digitally led drinkable chocolate categories of Velvetiser and Velvetised Cream alcohol.
The company is also witnessing cost reductions flowing into FY24 from restructuring measures implemented in the previous financial year.
'On The Front Foot Again'
Commenting on the company's progress in the first quarter, Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive officer said, "Hotel Chocolat is on the front foot again. The hard, foundational work we put in last year is now starting to deliver the results for us.
"Our new store format is trading well above our expectations, with 12 new locations planned to open in the next year. Four of them are open already and they are located across the UK from Glasgow to Bournemouth."
Hotel Chocolat added that it is confident of its ability to deliver sales growth and returns in the future despite external macro-economic challenges.
Last year, Hotel Chocolat cut back on discounts in the holiday season as it swung to an annual loss on one-off charges due to US store closures and the restructuring of a Japanese joint venture.