“Very robust sales” in the UK helped Groupe SEB increase its global like-for-like sales by 6.9% in 2011.
At €3,965m, sales overall rose 8.6%, although the company – whose brands include Tefal, Krups, Rowenta and Moulinex – said the economic climate gradually became more difficult during the year.
“In the second half, most economic indicators trended unfavourably and the crisis in Europe worsened,” it commented. “Against this backdrop, demand for small household equipment generally remained on an upward path (although slowed beginning in the summer) but varied from one region to other, in an overall environment that was much more competitive and more promotion-driven.”
However, growth in the fourth quarter turned out to be better than expected. Led by late Christmas sales, revenue for the last three months of the year was up 4.7% on a like-for-like basis, the result, said the group, of finding the right balance between defending market share, generating revenue and preserving profitability.
In the EU, though, the company said that fourth-quarter business did vary strongly from one market to another. There was a sharp drop in Greece, Spain and Portugal and a sudden downturn in Italy, but in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Scandinavia demand held up, led by sales of the Actifry deep fryer, Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee makers, amongst others.
Throughout the year in the UK, the group said it had “had very robust sales and a high-quality revenue stream”.
Overall, the company’s revenue rose by 2% in mature markets and by 14% in emerging economies.
It said it expected to achieve a new record high in operating result from activities (operating margin).