Chocolate company Charbonnel et Walker has predicted it will take a while for central London footfall to recover from the pandemic, as it posted lower annual sales.
The Royal Warrant holder, which was founded in London in 1875, has been impacted by temporary store closures at various points since last March.
‘Non essential’ retailers were allowed to reopen from the most recent lockdown on April 12, but there are still travel restrictions in place and many people are working from home.
Charbonnel et Walker’s director Andrew Batson said footfall is still low in central London and firms are “really missing the lack of tourists and commuters”.
The group has two standalone shops in the capital, but also sell its goods online and they are stocked by a number of department stores.
Batson added that exports to other countries via wholesale partnerships has been strong, while online sales have grown.
Looking ahead the firm will launch a new ‘heritage’ collection in September with some older recipes returning, and it anticipates stronger sales for the Christmas season.
In the year to April 2020 Charbonnel et Walker said turnover decreased 2.3% to £17.1 million, but pretax profits improved to £2.3 million from £1.8 million.