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Henkell Freixenet reports record UK turnover

Published:  29 April, 2021

Henkell Freixenet has announced an overall drop in turnover, but reported record turnover for the UK and Scandinavia. 

The wine and spirits division of the Oetker Group closed the 2020 financial year with net sales of €1.195bn, a 7.4% drop versus the previous year, which represents a 6.5% decline after adjustment for consolidation and currency effects. 

The business said Southern Europe had in particular suffered the effects of restaurant and hotel shutdowns, while growth had been recorded in Germany, Austria and Switzerland alongside record turnover in the UK and Scandinavia.

The “significant” sales growth achieved in the UK was driven by strong performances from the I Heart portfolio and Freixenet brands, which both recorded double-digit growth, with newcomers such as Freixenet Diamond Italian Wine Collection, Care for Wild Wines, I Heart Prosecco Rosé and Mionetto Prosecco Rosé highlighted as key contributors.

In the UK, 2020 also saw the group acquire full ownership of online wine retailer Slurp, as well as on-trade supplier Jascots Wine

As a whole, the company said it it had remained firmly focused on global and strong local brands and further divestments, in line with the strategy it introduced in 2018 following Henkell's acquisition of Freixenet. 

“Although our total core brand growth was 5.2%, the impacts of the pandemic were clearly evident,” said chairman Dr Andreas Brokemper.   

“In the first wave, between March and June, consumption of sparkling wine and Champagne came to a stop in many places. After a fast recovery in the summer months, we were hit by the second wave over Christmas and the New Year, when consumption is traditionally high. Sales of Sekt, Cava and Champagne were particularly affected, whereas Prosecco sales increased slightly. Ultimately, we were able to expand our Sekt and Prosecco market share,” he said.

The Freixenet brand performed “particularly well” and achieved growth despite the pandemic situation, he added. 

“Wine sales grew significantly as a result of the trend of enjoying wine for a broader range of at-home occasions. The regional distribution of sales also reflected the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas countries in Northern and Central Europe profited from the travel restrictions, the tourism-dependent Southern European countries experienced serious losses. Duty-free and airline business also practically dried up,” said Brokemper.

Following the acquisition of Freixenet by Henkell, the company had discontinued non-strategic operations and reduced low-margin business, he added. 

“At the same time, we have revised many of our core brands and launched innovations. This phase has now ended and we are ready to accelerate our business again after the pandemic.”