Hotel Chocolat to shut US direct-to-consumer business

Hotel Chocolat has said it will stop sales to customers through its own websites in the US.

he London-listed retailer said it will end “US direct-to-consumer sales” via its website and stop its own warehousing and fulfilment operations in the country.
It comes two months after the group said it was paring back its growth plans as customers grapple with the cost-of-living crisis.

Hotel Chocolat said it would report a bottom-line loss for the year to June 26 after taking action amid the wider economic uncertainty.

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Angus Thirlwell, boss of Hotel Chocolat (Hotel Chocolat/PA)

The group previously announced plans to shut its US retail stores and halt investment in its joint venture in Japan.

The new pull-back in the US is latest move by the retailer to materially reduce its investment efforts.

On Monday, the company said ongoing investment will be “limited to essential working capital only for online and wholesale” amid the challenging economic backdrop.

Nevertheless, Hotel Chocolat said it continues to explore the “future development of wholesale opportunities in the US market”.

In July, co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said the company is continuing to open stores in the UK and increasing its focus on drinkable chocolate.

But he confirmed that UK sales growth will be slower over the year ahead.

Shares in the company moved 0.4% higher to 137.6p in early trading.

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