The continuing success of its New Wave tableware helped Villeroy & Boch achieve an increase in overall group profits of 12.8% in its 2007 financial year.
Turnover grew to 848.6m Euros compared with 815.0m Euros in 2006; operating profit was up by 4.4m Euros to 38.8m Euros.
The tableware division saw sales rise to 326.4m Euros – a smaller increase than the bath and wellness division, which enjoyed sales of 522.2m Euros. The tableware business suffered from currency exchange losses in the US and because of the challenging economic climate.
The first months of 2008, though, have seen a substantial increase in tableware sales.
“The whole economy is having a tough time,” V&B managing director Patrick Heeley told HousewaresLive.net. “In tableware we’ve known it for the past few years, and it’s reflected in the sense that worldwide sales for Villeroy & Boch didn’t grow that much last year.”
However, he said that the new Vivo brand had done well. “And we’re still very strong with New Wave and all its different variations – and there’s still a lot of mileage in that story.” A recent addition is a South American theme.
Heeley said he thought the tableware industry was “a mixed bag” in terms of performance right now.
“Within the industry there are niche players who are succeeding with tableware,” he said. “I don’t think there’s quite so much competition at the top end, which is one of the reasons why we’re doing well. I guess in tough times it sorts out the weak from the strong.”
The company has reported healthy first quarter results for this year, with sales up 6.3% on those of the same period last year – and tableware putting on especially strong growth of 19.5%.
“This year the tableware division has really taken off,” Heeley commented. “The launch of the second brand, Vivo, has had quite a bit to do with it – we’ve increased our market penetration with Vivo – but generally we’ve found that sales are reasonably buoyant.”
Villeroy & Boch celebrates its 260th birthday this year.