As part of the expansion plan, Hotel Chocolat will create 250 new jobs this year. Their CEO revealed that online sales are expected to exceed physical store sales for the first time in its history.
Founder and CEO Angus Thirlwell said that a record number of customers flooded into his website during the pandemic and kept coming back, which led to a business reorganization. He added that online sales in 2019 only accounted for 15% of the total business, but this year will reach more than 50%.
Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat chief executive, said he expects to create 250 jobs this year. Therefore, sales this year are expected to exceed expectations, and store sales are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Mr Thirlwell told the PA news agency: “When our stores opened, they performed better than we had modelled. We recruited three million new customers online during the pandemic who are continuing to buy digital as well as going into our stores to enjoy immediate gratification.”
He added: “We anticipate we are going to be producing about 250 new jobs this year. They’re in manufacturing, they’re in data or design“.
Expansion plans include increasing its chocolate factory, a fourth truffle production line, a new domestic hot chocolate machine production line, expanding its warehouse and enhancing its online capabilities.
Store sales averaged back to pre-pandemic levels, especially in the growth of commercial towns, including St Albans and Hitchin in Hertfordshire and Stamford in Lincolnshire, despite downtown business and downtown. There are still traffic difficulties.
Mr Thirlwell said: “The work-from-home change has meant people with good jobs are sticking around the locality and want to shop there and enjoy more local experiences.”