Hotel Chocolat has revealed plans to open 50 new UK stores following the "huge success" of its Norwich site.

It comes after the British chocolatier opened a new cafe in the city's Chantry Place back in July.

The firm already had a shop located on the upper ground floor of the shopping centre but it expanded into the neighbouring unit to open a cafe alongside it.

The cafe serves hot and cold drinks, including hot chocolates and milkshakes, ice cream and sweet treats such as brownies.

And it has become so popular that Hotel Chocolat hopes to replicate its success elsewhere. 

Norwich Evening News: Hotel Chocolat is hoping to open 50 new UK stores after the success of its Norwich site Hotel Chocolat is hoping to open 50 new UK stores after the success of its Norwich site (Image: FOUR AGENCY)

Angus Thirlwell, chief executive officer and co-founder, told the PA news agency that the retailer are planning to open the new stores within five years as part of its growth plans.  

Mr Thirlwell said: "We opened two new locations which traded through the second half of the year – in Norwich and Nottingham – and both have been huge successes. 

"These cities were calling out for the brand and the evidence has been positive, so we know there is really good scope for further expansion. 

"There are locations across the country where we would like more stores. We think, as a target, we can be looking towards up to 50 sites over the next three to five years."

It came as the company recorded a “new record” in Christmas sales across its UK store estate. 

Hotel Chocolat told shareholders that UK and Ireland stores witnessed like-for-like growth of 10% over the nine weeks to Christmas Day, compared with a year earlier. 

However, online revenues were lower against the previous year as shoppers favoured visiting high street stores and the company had a "deliberately lower marketing spend" versus the previous year. 

The retailer said it has continued to trade in line with market expectations as a whole but remains “cautious” about consumer sentiment ahead of key seasonal events, such as Valentine’s Day and Easter. 

Mr Thirlwell added: "We have grown Hotel Chocolat by 65% over the period since the start of the pandemic, adapting to some of the most difficult economic conditions on record. 

"Taking a year, over full-year 2023, to sharpen up our operating model is the right thing to do, before we embark on further pursuit of the multiple growth opportunities ahead for our brand."

Shares in the business moved 12.1% higher to 208p.