Bar closures hit Marie Brizard Q1 salesBy Owen Bellwood
Paris-based Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) saw sales slide 6.9% in the first three months of 2021 as on-trade closures in Europe affected exports.
The group’s total sales were valued at €38.4 million (US$46.5m) for the three-month period to 31 March 2021. Sales did not include Poland and Moncigale, where MBWS disposed of its businesses in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
The Q1 sales decline came several months after MBWS reported an organic sales increase of 2.5% in 2020.
MBWS reported that despite strong growth in France, its sales for Q1 were hit by declines in its international markets.
The international cluster’s first quarter revenue amounted to €19.3m (US$23.4m), down by 17.1%, compared with Q1 2020.
In Western Europe, the growth in Germany was offset by a decline in the UK on-trade, which remained closed during the period due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The group noted that the reopening of bars and restaurants on 12 April in England ‘should allow for business recovery in this market’.
Across the Iberian zone of Spain and Portugal, MBWS said volumes suffered as a result of on-trade closures, but noted that sales of Marie Brizard Anisette ‘remained solid in the off-trade’.
In Scandinavia, while MBWS said ‘off-trade activity is holding up well’ and that Cognac sales in the region were growing, the bloc was also impacted by the continued closure of bars and restaurants during Q1.
Africa experienced a ‘good start to the year’, but Middle Eastern markets were down.
Shipments to the US also declined, as a result of stockpiling due to a new distribution agreement with Sazerac that began in 2020.
The group said Canada remains affected by Covid-19 restrictions and Brazil saw its sales benefit from the growth of local brands.
In Asia Pacific, the group recorded growth in the quarter, thanks to the continued good performance of Marie Brizard liqueurs in Australia and Korea.
In its home market of France, MBWS saw sales rise 6.6% to €19.2m (US$23.3m).
In the on-trade, activity was ‘down sharply’, but the group said it benefited from a shift in consumption to the off-trade as a result of the closure of bars and restaurants.
Andrew Highcock, chief executive officer of MBWS, said: “The group remains cautious for 2021 as the economic impact of the pandemic persists at the beginning of the year in many of its markets. We remain confident and fully committed to the success of MBWS.”