Paris-based Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) managed to show resilience in its 2020 financial year to deliver an organic sales increase of 2.5%.

MBWS saw sales in 2020 reach €168.4 million (US$203.9m), up from €165.4m (US$200.3m) in 2019. This was despite a 1.4% organic sales decrease during the firm’s fourth quarter from 1 October to 31 December 2020.

In Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa (WEMEA), MBWS said the firm was ‘resilient’ thanks to its value creation strategy. However, organic sales were down by 8.0% in 2020, compared with 2019.

In France, sales fell 3.3% overall, with a 2.4% increase during the fourth quarter compared with 2019. The William Peel whisky brand ‘held up relatively well over the year’ in the Horeca channel (hotel, restaurant and catering).

Organic sales for the rest of the WEMEA cluster were down 27.1% in 2020, with a 16.8% decline in the fourth quarter. MBWS attributed the decline to Covid-19 restrictions, which ‘particularly penalised’ the UK over the year, despite a ‘slow recovery’ in the fourth quarter.

In Central and Eastern Europe, Covid-19 continued to affect sales. Full year organic sales dropped by 10.6% in 2020, with sales sliding 14.2% in the fourth quarter.

MBWS said its activity in the Americas was aided by the firm’s US distribution partnership with Sazerac in January 2020. Organic sales in the Americas rose by 5.0% in 2020, despite a 28.9% fall in Q4.

This was attributed to a sharp decline in volumes at the end of the year due to the decision to reduce inventory levels after a period of inventory build-up by the new distributor.

MBWS added that Brazil enjoyed ‘robust organic growth’ during the fourth quarter, aided by the reintroduction of the Cutty Sark and Glen Moray brands.

Asia Pacific also reported a strong 2020, with organic sales up 6.1% in 2020. The challenges of lockdown in Japan were offset by a ‘doubling of activity’ in Australia and ‘good resilience’ in Korea.

Plans to revitalise the business in China were suspended last year because of the Covid-19 crisis but are expected to resume with a new partnership for Marie Brizard.

MBWS is expected to report its first quarter 2021 results in April.
Via The Spirits Business
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