The Lindt & Sprüngli Group once again recorded satisfying double-digit growth to CHF 4.97 billion. All geographic segments made significant increases, in particular in North America, where all subsidiaries – including Russell Stover – posted double-digit growth. The growth markets in the Rest of the World segment also confirmed their substantial future potential. The success is particularly encouraging in the Global Retail organization, where significant growth was achieved in both physical and digital Lindt Shops.
The financial year 2022 was – once again – very challenging. While the gradual relaxation of health regulations initially gave cause for optimism, the war in Ukraine, with its consequences for energy prices, inflation, exchange rates, and consumer sentiment, presented new challenges. In this difficult environment, the Lindt & Sprüngli Group generated Group sales of CHF 4.97 billion, which corresponds to organic growth of 10.8%.
The Lindor key franchise generated very strong sales in all regions, thus continuing to be the most important product line in our portfolio. The easing of lockdown restrictions allowed more social contacts, visits of friends, joint family celebrations on the important seasonal occasions of Easter and Christmas, or simply presenting a small thank you gift in person. These are all occasions for presenting Lindor pralinés in exclusive gift packaging and for enchanting loved ones with our chocolates.
Compared with the strong growth of previous years, the Excellence line developed in a slightly more restrained manner. During the lockdowns, our chocolate bars were primarily purchased for personal consumption and were therefore in particularly high demand. In many markets, however, the trend towards dark chocolate with a high cocoa content continues unabated. Particularly in countries where simpler chocolates have so far dominated their chocolate culture and Swiss-made products represent a new level of quality, consumers are also finding their way to our brands through the intense chocolate experience of dark chocolate bars.
Seasonal sales increased significantly – also as a result of the revival of social contact. Both during Easter and Christmas, our products – from the Lindt Gold Bunny to the Lindor truffle – were in high demand to delight friends and family with a gift. Sales across all distribution channels developed in a very satisfying manner. However, we experienced a particularly significant revival both online and offline in our Lindt Shops around the world. Sales clearly show that consumers had missed the personal contact, the large selection, and the personal brand experience in the exclusive Lindt Shops and that there was a need to catch up. To the digital shopping experience, we added 13 newly launched e-shops and continued to generate continuous growth in this area.
Employees in procurement, production, and logistics made a significant contribution to the success of the past year. Despite the sometimes uncertain availability of raw materials and transport capacities, we always succeeded in supplying customers with sufficient products. Although improvements in efficiency were able to offset inflation-related cost increases to some extent, it was not possible to fully compensate them. The market prices for many raw and packaging materials, as well as for logistics, have increased, which led to the fact that moderate price adjustments had to be made in some regions. However, the increase in sales figures confirms our assessment that our consumers will accept a reasonable price increase for their favorite chocolate and remain loyal to our brands.