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How did Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits perform in 2018? - results data

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Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits has brought the curtain down on a torrid 2018 with a 6% decrease in sales for both the fourth quarter and full-year.

The France-based group, best known for the Sobieski vodka and William Peel blended Scotch brands, said late yesterday that sales in almost all of its reporting regions suffered in the final three months of 2018. France, where William Peel is the leading brand in the world's largest blended Scotch market by volume, tumbled by almost 15% in the quarter. The Americas did even worse, posting a 44% nosedive in the period.

There was better news in Poland, however, where the top-line climbed by 17%. Marie Brizard credited this to "the progressive recovery from the proactive destocking in H1 2018" in the country.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits 2018 - Q4 Sales by Cluster - Reported

Source: Company results

In its home market, the "social movements" during the last two month of the year affected "most consumer categories", the company noted. Also hampering the group domestically was its reduced level of promotions while its rivals conducted "intense promotional activity" in the final quarter.

The "continued destocking" of Sobieski in some US states was blamed for the major fall in the Americas cluster, with pricing pressure affecting the whole vodka segment in the country.

Meanwhile, Asia Pacific proved equally bleak, declining by 34% in Q4. "In Asia, the distribution agreements in place have not enabled the group to meet its objectives," Marie Brizard said. "The new strategic plan will put forth a new approach to the route-to-market in this cluster."

On the bright side, the year ended with a win in Poland, following "proactive" destocking in the country in the first half of last year. Several new distribution tie-ups in the country also took effect as 2018 drew to a close.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits 2018 - Sales by Cluster - Reported

Source: Company results

The writing was on the wall for Marie Brizard a year ago, when the announcement of a flat top-line for the full-year of 2017 included a significant slide in the year's final quarter. Then-CEO Jean-Noël Reynaud was relieved of his position in March, with Andrew Highcock, a former GM for Diageo Hungary, taking the reigns in July, at the same time as the company posted an 8% fall in first-half sales. The third quarter also proved problematic, with group sales coming in 4% down on the corresponding period a year earlier.

Where has Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits gone wrong? - Click here for a just-drinks focus from September


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