The conditions in the first half-year were unchanged and remained difficult for the whole industry. Stagnating or only slightly growing chocolate markets, a consumer sentiment that remained largely restrained and an ever changing trade landscape posed great challenges for the industry. Lindt & Sprüngli however still managed to win market shares in strategically important markets and increased Group sales to CHF 1.549 billion, which corresponds to an organic growth of +3.6%. The strategic realignment of Russell Stover is making progress, but will take more time than originally anticipated. Excluding Russell Stover, a growth of +6.6% can be reported for the first half-year. Given the challenging market conditions, this represents an above-average result and is in line with our medium-/long-term strategic targets. It underlines the essential soundness of Lindt & Sprüngli’s core business that generates approximately 75% of Group sales with the Lindt brand.
Good market share gains and strong presentations at POS
In the first half-year, Lindt & Sprüngli was once again confronted with stagnating or slow-growing chocolate markets, especially in its most important market, North America, and consumer sentiment that remained largely restrained. Thanks to numerous innovations and excellent point-of-sale presentations, the seasonal business performed very well in the first half-year. Lindt & Sprüngli is once again growing faster than the chocolate market as a whole and was able to gain important market shares.
Increase in Group sales to CHF 1.549 billion
Group sales were increased by +3.1% to CHF 1.549 billion in the first half of the year, which equates to organic growth of +3.6%. Excluding Russell Stover, whose sales are declining due to the strategic realignment in the challenging US chocolate market, Lindt & Sprüngli was able to achieve very good growth of +6.6%. This is within the scope of the medium-/long-term strategic growth target and represents an above-average result, given the challenging background of a globally stagnating chocolate market. At the same time, this result underlines the essential soundness of Lindt & Sprüngli’s core business. Approximately 75% of Group sales are generated by the Lindt brand.
Good growth in Europe
The “Europe” segment generated sales of CHF 759.8 million, which represents an organic growth of +6.0%. Despite ongoing shopping tourism in its neighboring countries and the continuing expansion of hard-discount chains, the Swiss domestic market recorded positive sales results. The very good results of the subsidiaries in Germany and the UK – the two largest chocolate markets in Europe – are particularly worth mentioning, as are Austria and Spain, where the increases are in the high single-digit and even double-digit range. Also noteworthy are the positive developments in the recently developed markets, such as the subsidiaries in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic, which are showing great promise and strong growth rates.
The Lindt & Sprüngli Group expects accelerated sales growth in the second half of 2017. Due to current developments in North America, it is anticipated that revenue growth for the full year will be slightly lower than in the previous year, combined with an increase of the operating profit margin. However, the Group is still confident that its growth will considerably exceed the industry average.