BIC has reported a slight increase in stationery sales for Q4 2018, alongside a new strategic plan to transform its business for the future.
BIC’s Q4 2018 stationery sales rose 0.6% on a constant currency basis compared to Q4 2017 to reach €170.4 million ($193 million).
For FY2018, sales in the stationery segment were 1.2% higher in constant currency at €771.9 million.
In Europe, stationery sales grew in the low single-digits, fuelled by a “robust” back-to-school season (BTS) most notably in France and the UK. The season was similarly strong in North America, where BIC outperformed the market with mid single-digit growth.
Inventory adjustments from customers that could have affected figures in Latin America were offset by a strong BTS season in Mexico, particularly in the ball pen and colouring segments.
Sales were stable in the Middle East and Africa and the company gained market share in South Africa.
In India, sales at Cello Pens increased slightly. BIC also announced the inauguration of its new Cello writing instrument factory in Vapi on 19 January 2019.
Overall Q4 sales for the BIC group rose 5.4% in constant currency to €497.4 million. Sales for the full year saw a smaller increase of 0.9% in constant currency to reach €2 billion.
Alongside company results, BIC revealed the first steps in its new strategic plan to future-proof the company, entitled BIC 2022 – Invent the Future.
BIC CEO Gonzalve Bich said: “We recognise that our business environment is changing and acknowledge that we must change with it. To drive long term sales growth and the sustainability of margins, we must become more agile, integrated and innovative.”
BIC has centred its plan around four “strategic pillars” to drive profitable sales growth, which will be implemented by an executive committee. Its goals are:
· Effectiveness – to find cost savings of €20 million each year that can be reinvested in driving growth
· Innovation – to increase the company’s new patent submissions by 20% each year
· Consumer-centric brands – to engage directly with 20% of consumers
· Omnichannel distribution – for e-commerce to account for 10% of sales