Nicolas Feuillatte unfazed by UK sales dip

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte said it remained committed to brand building, appearing unfazed by the dip in sales caused by declining Champagne sales across the UK, its largest export market.

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The company, which is the third largest champagne brand in the world, this morning reported global sales in 2016 of 10.4 million bottles, a “marginal” 4% decline on the previous year (10.8m bottles). Sales amounted to €202 million, down from €215 million last year, and operating profit stood at €20 million. However the board commented that given the challenging landscape, it was an “excellent performance” overall, pointing out that it had successfully reconciled value and volume, “justifying the long-term efforts undertaken by the brand”.

The sales dip came was “solely” due to the “marked decline” in UK volume sales of Champagne, where it is the third largest Champagne brand.  It had refused to bow to the “overly competitive pricing” in the UK.

Other markets proved more propitious, and Nicolas Feuillatte saw turnover increase in the domestic French market, where it is the biggest selling Champagne brand, with steady volume sales of 6.3 million bottle. This was in line with those of 2015, helping it maintain its market-leading position.

Exports were within the five-year averages, reaching 4.1 million bottles, with stable or good sales in mainland Europe, the USA and Asia, as well as success in new markets such as Brazil, China, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Marketing & communications manager Olivier Legrand said that although it has been a challenging time for the whole Champagne market, the company was pleased with the progress made in 2016

“We have had a very positive response to our new brand positioning and the advertising campaign launched last year. This year we are continuing to build on this momentum with bold communication activities such as organising the first ever multisensory Champagne tasting in virtual reality, which will target key opinion leaders and consumers,” he said.

Nicolas Feuillatte’s President Véronique Blin and joint managing director Laurent Panigai underlined the financial stability of the business, which it said ensured economic independence to all its member growers.

They noted that the company would continue to focus on strengthening the Nicolas Feuillatte brand, increase its value and expand internationally through continuing the multi-channel communications strategy that was launched in 2016, as well as its recently opened visitor centre.

“It will set Nicolas Feuillatte on a new course in wine tourism with a belief that this will transform each visitor into an ambassador of the brand,” it said.

Last month the company named Christophe Juarez as its new managing director, taking over from Julie Campos, who stepped down from the role in March.

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