French small appliance maker Groupe SEB reported that its consolidated sales amounted to 2,349 million euros in 2003. As the company forecasted, the amount was almost unchanged (- 0.1 percent) from 2002 at constant exchange rates.
The company said that in such an unfavorable and unsettled economic environment, which prevailed throughout the year, the fact that its 2003 consolidated sales held steady may be considered a satisfactory performance.
Fourth-quarter sales at constant exchange rates declined by 1.4 percent compared with a particularly strong prior-year period. The end of the year was marked by the launch of a number of new models, notably by the Moulinex and Krups brands.
The company said sales held firm in France, despite disappointing consumer spending, particularly at year-end, and aggressive competition that led to higher sales of certain low-price products. Nevertheless, the company said it enjoyed successful market performance in informal meals, pressure cookers, steam generators, cookware, and fryers.
In the other European Union countries, sales were again dragged down by Germany and the impact of Moulinex brand licensing in the nine countries concerned, the company said. On the other hand, sales performance was very satisfactory in Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Portugal, while in the United Kingdom sales picked up at the end of the year.
Penalized by the euro/dollar exchange rate, business in the NAFTA region remained difficult and contrasted depending on brands, resulting in a decline in reported sales, the company reported. At the end of the fourth quarter, however, sales surged in the U.S. and resumed growth in Mexico and Canada.
In Brazil, the company said it benefited from the beginnings of an economic recovery, spurred by the micro-loans granted to consumers in the final quarter. Colombia and Argentina also reported a good performance for the year.
According to the small appliance maker, business remained strong in the rest of the world, where it continued to expand in all of its geographic markets, especially Australia, China, Turkey, the CIS, Japan, South Korea, and Central Europe.
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