Lindt sees sales dip in 2009

Posted by Isobel Drake on 20th January 2010

Chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli saw sales fall 1.9 per cent in 2009 during “an extremely difficult market environment for premium products”.Organic growth of 2.3% was realised in local currency terms, but the strength of the Swiss Franc hurt revenue.

“In view of the challenging situation on the markets for premium and luxury products, this sales growth in local currency terms is a satisfactory result,” the company said in a statement.

Sales in the USA, Canada and Australia, showed “above average development especially in the second half of the year”, Lindt added.

The chocolate maker said, despite the difficulties, they had gained market share but demand for private labels and increased sales at discounters (where their goods are not available) meant profit would come in at the lower end of their guidance.

2010 forecast

Higher cocoa prices and consumer frugalism are expected by Lindt to continue in the first half of 2010 but they are optimistic that the second half will see premium products get a significant boost.

“For the time being, Lindt & Sprüngli expects the challenging situation on the commodity markets to continue, especially for cocoa prices, accompanied by ongoing exchange-rate fluctuations and continuing subdued consumer sentiment,” they told investors. “In this particularly sensitive environment, the prices of Lindt products will presumably be adjusted only in certain specific cases this year, as the company will continue to focus on strengthening the market position and gaining further market shares.

“In the second half of 2010, Lindt & Sprüngli expects to see a gradual improvement of the economic environment and consumer sentiment in most countries and assumes that the trade will have a more optimistic stance as the year progresses. This in turn will have corresponding impulses on premium products.”