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Polish difficulties hit Marie Brizard FY sales

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) saw its 2017 full-year net sales slip 0.4% to €428.9 million (US$531.8m), impacted by “significant difficulties” in its Polish business.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits saw its full-year 2017 sales fall by 0.4%

MBWS saw its sales fall by 14.1% to €104.9m (US$130.1m) in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to the previous year.

The Central and Eastern Europe region witnessed a net sales decrease of 16% to €79.7m (US$98.8m) in 2017.

In Poland, net sales decreased sharply by 74.4% to €6.1m (US$7.5m) in Q4 2017, while the full year saw total net sales in the region decrease by 28.3% to €47.1m (US$58.4m).

The net sales decrease was attributed to the sales underperformance of distribution deals, “strong pricing pressure” in the clear vodka market, an over-budget spend of €9m on trade support and “deficient” internal process of trade support.

As a result, MBWS hired Ania Jakubowski as general manager for its Polish subsidiaries in early January 2018. Jaubowski, who joins from Coca-Cola Company in Poland, will be in charge of establishing new sales practises in the region.

Jean-Noël Reynaud, CEO of MBWS said: “Our Polish subsidiaries have faced significant difficulties. Some of these challenges were identified previously and led to the establishment of corrective action plans in Q3 2017, as announced last November. Market conditions in Poland have led to a sharp increase in trade support and to the discovery of deficient internal processes for committing to and controlling trade support. A new general manager has been put in place in Poland, with the main objective of overhauling and executing the business plan of our Polish subsidiaries.”

The Western Europe, Middle East and Africa region saw its net sales decrease by 3% in the full-year. William Peel outpaced the Scotch whisky market in France with a market share of 24.5%.

The group’s “positive” performance in the on-trade last year was attributed to the success of Marie Brizard.

In the Americas region, Sobieski outperformed in the US market, along with strong performances from Marie Brizard and Cognac Gautier.

The group also said that the launch of Sobieski’s new bottle in the US during the second quarter of 2018 could cause a sell-in delay during the first quarter of the year due to the phasing out of the old Sobieski bottle.

In Asia Pacific, sales were boosted by William Peel and Cognac Gautier in China, and by Marie Brizard across Asia Pacific.

Looking ahead, MBWS said it expects to see a “gradual improvement” in Poland, driven by price increases in the vodka market, the start of production at the company’s new distillery in Lancut during the first quarter of 2018, which should lead to margin expansion.

The objectives in the BiG strategic plan are “under evaluation” in light of MBWS’s performance in Poland.

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