Asian markets showing signs of recovery – Guylian

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 20th October 2009

Guylian, the Belgian chocolate maker, today (19 October) claimed that markets in Asia had started to show signs of recovery.

Steven Candries, Guylian’s export and travel director, told just-food that the company had seen “two months of recovery” in selected Asian markets after a “tough” 12 months.

Guylian was bought 18 months ago by South Korea’s Lotte Confectionery.

Speaking at the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) exhibition in Cannes, Candries acknowledged the benefits of Lotte’s ownership of Guylian but said the company was already well known in Asia.

“Lots of the markets have been moving quite a lot of stock. We are quite positive because we are coming out with new packaging and new products in January,” Candries said.

Nevertheless, the Guylian executive admitted that the travel-retail sector remained “pretty tough” for confectioners. Consumers across the world were either buying “mass” brands or premium lines and “squeezing” companies like Godiva and Lindt.

He added that the last 12 months had provided some of the most difficult trading conditions seen in the travel-retail sector.

“We overcame the Sars virus and the terrorist attacks very easily,” Candries claimed. “We even performed better than many other brands. This is completely different because people are saying that they won’t travel as much – and when they do travel, they don’t spend the money. Then, you don’t have the stock rotation and you have to invest to get products sold.”

Duty-free and travel-retail sales of confectionery and fine foods fell 9.3% in the first quarter of 2009.

just-food is the world’s leading portal for the global pre-packaged food and retail industries. Its daily mix of breaking news, views, analysis and research serves over 100,000 food executives each month.