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Marie Brizard celebrates return to growth

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits, formerly named Belvédère, has reported a 4.5% sales increase in the first half of its financial year following the implementation of an “ambitious” strategic plan.

Newly named Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits has reported a 4.5% rise in sales in the first half of its financial year

The French drinks group, maker of Marie Brizard liqueurs and William Peel Scotch whisky, reached sales of €222.7 million under a cost-cutting plan employed at the end of last year when sales fell 4.1%

In a bid to boost profits, the company has undertaken a number of initiatives as part of the BiG 2018 strategy, which has so far been deemed a “success”.

As part of what has been described as its “normalisation plan”, the group cut 500 jobs from its global workforce, and also offloaded a number of “loss making” operational assets.

In May this year, the firm sold its Polish retail business Galeria Alkoholi, comprised of 39 liquor stores, to French multinational retailer Carrefour for an undisclosed sum.

Marie Brizard also recouped “full operational control” over its activities in Bulgaria and commenced work on upgrading its vodka production facilities in Lithuania.

In addition to introducing a number of its key brands to new markets, the group renegotiated its procurement and bottle sourcing contracts, allowing it to secure a “significant portion” of the total sourcing savings expected by 2018.

Challenges ‘addressed’

“Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits is henceforth an innovative wine and spirits group that is rooted in tradition and places the trust shown by its employees, clients, partners and shareholders at the heart of its strategy,” said Jean-Noël Reynaud, CEO of Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits.

“Now governed by management best practices, we are growing again and are recognised for our multi-regional and multi-category know-how.

“The developments that took place during the first half of 2015 mean that we can address these challenges full of confidence, especially as new opportunities have resulted from the reorganisation of our shareholding structure. It is now up to us to define and implement them.”

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits confirmed it had changed its named from Belvédère last month.

Looking at sales by region, the group said the second quarter of 2015 saw a return to growth for France, where William Peel reaffirmed its “leadership position” and Sobieski became the second best-selling vodka brand in the market.

In Poland, sales increased 4.5% following the abandonment of third party vodka contracts, while William Peel launched in the market.

Focusing on nine key states, the group saw its sales grow 13% in the US, however figures dropped 6.7% in Brazil due to the negative impact of currency changes.

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