European-based appliance maker Groupe SEB, known for its Krups, Moulinex, Rowenta, and Tefal brands, reported slight sales growth in 2004. The company reported consolidated sales for 2004 totaled 2.3 billion euros (approx. U.S. $3 billion).
The company said that economic conditions varied widely in 2004, by both period and region and the year was shaped by flat consumer spending in most developed countries, a rapid shift of the small domestic appliance market, a focus on entry-level and high-end products, and the growing strength of the euro.
In France, 2004 sales were down 3.5 percent to 636 million euros (approx. $833 million) compared to 660 million euros (approx. $864 million) in 2003. According to the company, after a difficult start to the year, recovery observed in the third quarter accelerated in the fourth quarter. The flagship products were the Aquaspeed iron, the R2 and Artec 2 vacuum cleaners, the Krups Essenza espresso coffee machine and the Iseo and Delicio small food processors.
In other European regions, sales were down 2.6 percent to 709 million euros (approx. $928 million), compared to 727 million euros (approx. $952 million) in 2003. The company said the situation in the other European Union countries remained uneven. In the UK, Spain, and Portugal, 2004 sales were up on the previous year.
In North America, sales totaled 307 million euros (approx. $402 million), compared to 323 million euros (approx. $423 million) in 2003. The Group said it continued to grow its business in Mexico and Canada, where product offerings were expanded. In the U.S., the company said its Rowenta brand held onto its positions in linen care and the new products launched by Krups started at a good pace.
In South America, sales increased 12 percent to 129 million euros (approx. $169 million), compared to 120 million euros (approx. $157 million) in 2003. The Group said it performed well in Brazil, where strong product momentum in food preparation, linen care, and personal care appliances helped to drive sales. At the end of 2004, the Group decided to extend its presence in South America by setting up a sales operation in Peru.
In the other countries, including Turkey, South Korean, and Japan, the company reported sales of 555 million euros (approx. $727 million), compared to 518 million euros (approx. $678 million) in 2003.
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