July 18, 2018 / 6:49 AM / in 10 months

UK's Hotel Chocolat to meet profit forecasts after 12 pct revenue rise

LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) - British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat said on Wednesday it would meet forecasts for full-year profit as it reported a 12 percent increase in revenue, reflecting robust demand in both new and established stores.

The firm, which makes and sells upmarket chocolate, said revenue was 116 million pounds ($152 million) in the year to July 1.

Prior to the update analysts were on average forecasting a 2017-18 pretax profit of 12.7 million pounds, up from 11.2 million pounds in 2016-17.

“Whilst there has been considerable recent media coverage of retail generally, we are encouraged by the performance of both our new and existing locations,” said co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell.

He said that during the recent heatwave in Britain the retailer had seen strong demand for chilled chocolate drinks, ice cream and cocoa beers.

Hotel Chocolat said trading since the 2017-18 financial year end had continued to be in line with management’s expectations.

Shares in the firm, which listed on the AIM market at 148 pence in 2016, closed Tuesday at 346 pence, valuing the business at 394 million pounds.

Two thirds of the equity is owned by Thirlwell and co-founder Peter Harris. ($1 = 0.7642 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey, editing by Paul Sandle)

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