Selling 500g chocolate slabs in flavours such as marbled praline and strawberry crème is big business for Hotel Chocolat Stores. The Hertfordshire company took the top spot in last year’s Fast Track 100 and its sales continue to grow, thanks to distinctive branding and products such as black truffle and bitter chocolate salsa. The company owns a 140-acre cocoa estate on St Lucia in the Caribbean which will soon include a real Hotel Chocolat that is open to tourists. Founders Peter Harris and Angus Thirlwell have their sights set on America, and this year have opened two shops in Massachusetts. Sales at the company, which has a separate mail-order business, grew 55% a year from £5.8m in 2006 to £21.8m in 2009.

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Company details
Year2009
Rank96
CompanyHotel Chocolat Stores
ActivityChocolate retailer
LocationHertfordshire
Annual sales rise over 3 years55.16%
Latest sales £000s*21,788
Staff287
Founded2004
Websitewww.hotelchocolat.co.uk

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure