The boss of Hotel Chocolat has said that an “Easter of generosity” boosted trading in the face of the pandemic as the retailer saw a surge in customers sending Easter eggs and chocolate to their families.
The luxury chocolate retailer said it expects trading for the current year to June to be “significantly ahead of expectations” despite the impact of Covid-19.
Angus Thirlwell, chief executive of the business, told the PA news agency that is saw “incredible” online demand over Easter as it witnessed significantly higher gift sales.
“Families were incredibly generous in sending chocolate to other people in different parts of the country,” he said.
“It was an Easter of generosity and that was a great thing to be part of.
“I think people saw it as a way to stay connected and treat one another after a really tough year.”
The group told investors on Monday that sales for the eight weeks to April 25, which included six weeks of store closures in England, jumped by 60% compared with the same period last year, which saw five weeks of closures.
It said that revenues for the two-month period were also 19% ahead of the same timeframe in 2019, before the pandemic struck.
Digital and subscription sales continued to surge over the period as Mother’s Day and Easter drove sales.
Stores across England reopened from April 12 after the easing of restrictions for non-essential retailers.
Hotel Chocolat said sales across its business have been “encouraging” in the weeks since stores reopened.
Mr Thirlwell said regional high streets have been “particularly strong” while it expects a longer recovery as its travel sites.
The group also confirmed that it will repay around £3.1 million it received from the Government in furlough support due to its strong financial position.
Shares in the company were 6% higher at 371p in early trading on Monday.