Cloetta cautious on Italy and Scandinavia confectionery recovery
However, the firm fears the market improvement may be short-lived.
Cautious on market development
Bengt Baron, president and CEO of Cloetta said: “Development in the confectionery market was somewhat better in the quarter, leading to growth in most of our markets.
“It should be noted that the Italian market showed slight growth for the first time in many months. However, the Finnish total market has continued to perform weakly. Overall, we remain cautious about market development in the near future.”
Innovation drives growth in Sweden.
Cloetta grew its sales in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the UK and Italy, but rit egistered declines in the Netherlands and Norway.
Baron said the sales gains in Sweden were driven by product launches and performance in Italy was helped by the re-launch of the Dietorelle brand.
Gum chomps on Dutch sales
But Baron was sceptical about the future of the market in Italy.
“It is too early to say whether this is a break of trends, since Cloetta’s traditionally large sales of seasonal products in Italy take place during the fourth quarter,” he said.
The Cloetta chief added that a weak chewing gum market was responsible for declining sales in the Netherlands and the regression in Norway came after Cloetta discontinued distribution of a third-party brand.
The company’s net sales for the period between July and September 2013 were up 3% on the same period last year to SEK 1,194m ($179.6m) while Cloetta’s operating profit (EBIT) grew 45.6% to SEK 131m ($19.6m).
The firm has been restructuring following its December 2011 merger with Dutch firm Leaf.
Under the SEK 450m ($67.4m) restructuring program, Cloetta will close its factory in Gävle, Sweden in the first quarter of 2014, as previously announced. Production will move to existing factories in Ljungsbro, Sweden, and Levice, Slovakia.