Hotel Chocolat partners with THG to support US online expansion

Hotel Chocolat has announced a partnership with THG Ingenuity, The Hut Group’s (THG’s) technology services division, to support its expansion into the US market.

Under the five-year agreement, the chocolatier will use THG Ingenuity’s proprietary end-to-end eCommerce platform to launch its direct-to-consumer offering in the US. The platform integrates trading, merchandising, marketing modules, real-time data feeds, and a single customer view, helping Hotel Chocolat to “build a more personalised relationship with its US-based customers”.

The retailer will also be able to make use of THG Ingenuity’s chilled fulfilment network and US warehouses, to offer quick delivery times, including next-day delivery across both the east and west coasts.

Brendan Drake, CEO of Hotel Chocolat, commented: “We are excited to announce our partnership to help accelerate the digital growth of the brand in the USA. THG Ingenuity offers an end to end solution for eCommerce and digital supply chain with the potential to build meaningful scale.”

Matthew Moulding, founder, chairman and CEO of THG added: “We are proud to announce this partnership with Hotel Chocolat, bringing our DTC and eCommerce capabilities to this renowned UK retailer and helping it to reach an international audience. It comes at a particularly crucial time for the British retail sector, when brands must flex in response to the constantly evolving environment.”

The announcement came as Hotel Chocolat reported a 3% year-on-year revenue growth in the 52 weeks ended 28 June 2020, with the retailer performing strongly despite the closure of its UK stores for 12 weeks due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. It said it was able to achieve this primarily through expanding its eCommerce capacity, adding that demand on this channel is up by over 150% year-on-year in the first 12 weeks of FY21.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive officer of Hotel Chocolat, said: “Whilst uncertainty will continue for all of us in the coming year, our pipeline of potential growth opportunities has never been stronger. We are working hard to anticipate potential trading scenarios for the year ahead and are planning prudently to be ready to adapt quickly and effectively as the situation evolves. To achieve this, we have invested in our ability to increase production and expand our supply chain capacity as well as strengthen the leadership team to ensure a continued focus on product innovation, eCommerce, supply chain and sustainability.”