The firm has set a goal to become the world's leading premium chocolate retailer by 2020.
It said today its fiscal 2015 net income increased by 11.2% to CHF 381m ($384m) and reaffirmed its outlook of 6% to 8% organic growth for this fiscal year.
In January, the company announced its 2015 sales grew 7.1% to CHF 3.65bn ($3.64bn), but today it revealed more detailed financials in its annual report.
Key to the success story
“Lindt Global Retail plays a key role in this success story, as it continues to make inroads in all regional markets, opening up new sales channels in the process,” said Lindt chairman and CEO Ernest Tanner in the company’s annual report.
Lindt’s Global Retail division was launched in 2009. The company’s 300-plus store retail network accounts for 10% of the group’s overall sales. In 2015, the division grew sales by around 20%.
At the firm’s AGM in April, Lindt will propose Dr Thomas M. Rinderknecht for election to its Board as a successor to Dr Franz Peter Oesch, who died in August 2015. Rinderknecht is an experienced business lawyer who has served on the boards of pharma and biotech companies such as Basilea Pharmaceutica AG.
2020 goal to be leader in premium chocolate retail
“Our goal is to be the world's leading retailer of premium chocolate by 2020. To achieve this, we plan to open between 20 and 30 new shops every year,” said Tanner.
Lindt added 50 stores in 2015 and opened 16 Lindt boutiques alone in Brazil via a joint venture with the CRM group.
Tanner said Lindt’s stores helped drive brand recognition, adding that a key component was opening stores in prime locations.
“Furthermore, a number of products are exclusive to our own shops, so they attract loyal consumers who cannot buy them elsewhere,” he said.
Jack Skelly, food analyst at Euromonitor International, said:"The company’s desire to push further with its retail division is again almost unique amongst global chocolate manufacturers, and suggests that a few more predictable reports could be in the pipeline over the coming years.”
He said the company's weakness remained in the emerging chocolate markets of China and India.
"However, particularly in the former market, its global retail division – which saw particularly strong growth in 2015 – could provide a solution, with Lindt stores particularly appealing to wealthier consumers and increasing brand exposure in regions where Lindt has a relatively minor presence," said the analyst.