Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Business

Lindt sees sales growth ahead as consumers crave sweet treats

By Silke Koltrowitz

ZURICH (Reuters) -Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli said on Tuesday it expects demand for its upmarket chocolates to grow this year after the pandemic saw consumers increasingly splurge on sweet treats, boosting 2021 sales by 13.3%.

Global chocolate markets recovered last year and the maker of Lindor chocolate balls, which kept spending on advertising and new products throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said it gained market share from competitors in all key countries.

Its Lindor range did well and it recorded double-digit growth in its major European markets in Germany, Italy, Britain and Switzerland, the company based in Kilchberg on Lake Zurich said in a statement.

“Important growth drivers were the ongoing high demand for products for home consumption and a recovery for products for gift-giving occasions,” Lindt said, adding online sales also saw double-digit growth while sales at its own stores were still impacted by pandemic-related restrictions.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said the figures were solid, but pointed to a slowdown in North America in the second half of 2021, possibly “on the back of its Russell Stover brand”.

Full-year sales rose to 4.59 billion Swiss francs ($5.01 billion), ahead of a 4.55 billion franc estimate in a Refinitiv poll. The company confirmed it expects an operating margin of “around 14%” for 2021. Full results are due on March 8.

In 2022, Lindt wants to achieve growth in line with its medium to long-term target of 5-7% with an operating profit margin of 15%. The margin is then expected to rise by 20-40 basis points per year from 2023, Lindt said.

The group’s participation certificates, down more than 10% so far this year, were indicated to open 0.24% lower, in line with the overall market.

($1 = 0.9154 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, Editing by Miranda Murray and Louise Heavens)

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