A Hotel Chocolat shop. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images PA Archive/PA Images Hotel Chocolat has seen double-digit sales growth and new store openings during a tough time for rival retailers. The chocolate specialist reported revenue of £116m for the year to July 1, up 12% on the previous year. It opened 15 new stores over the period, which helped lift increase sales by 6%, and expects full year profits to be in line with expectations of £12.8m. The company has stores in Norwich, Bury St Edmunds and Colchester and is set to open another in Ipswich in September. Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: “Whilst there has been considerable recent media coverage of retail generally, we are encouraged by the performance of both our new and existing locations. “Customers are continuing to respond well to our luxury brand and lifestyle propositions.” He said the recent heatwave had helped with sales of Hotel Chocolat’s ice creams and chilled chocolate drinks. Retailers have been battling against falling footfall, rising costs and weak consumer confidence, with several household names falling into administration this year. Liberum analysts said: “This trading update is very strong in the context of the retail sector and there is no doubt that the strength of the brand, its balance sheet and cash flow profile all point to what is a sustainable growth model.” They said Hotel Chocolat may decide to expand internationally “sooner rather than later”.