By Joe Hoppe
Hotel Chocolat Group PLC said Tuesday that pretax profit fell 83% in fiscal 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, despite a strong first half.
For the year ended June 28, the British chocolatier said it made a pretax profit of 2.4 million pounds ($3.1 million), compared with GBP14.1 million in the last fiscal year and slightly ahead of expectations. The company said the slip was driven by losses in the second half.
Revenue for the year rose 3% to GBP136.3 million. The company attributed the rise to a strong first half, adding that physical locations--which generate over 70% of its second-half revenue--were closed for 12 weeks due to the coronavirus lockdown, including the key Easter period.
The board kept its dividend suspended to conserve cash, and said a progressive policy would be reinstated when conditions permit.
"I am confident that the strategic progress we have achieved over the past year will build a stronger business in the medium term with greater growth, profitability and brand appeal," said Chief Executive Angus Thirlwell.
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