| France

Professional coffee equipment boosts Groupe SEB’s challenging first quarter

The owner of the WMF, Schaerer and Wilbur Curtis professional coffee machine brands saw declining consumer appliance sales partially offset by sharp gains in its professional segment around the world, particularly in China where Luckin Coffee utilises Schaerer equipment

Groupe SEB’s professional brands include the WMF, Schaerer and Wilbur Curtis coffee machine manufacturers | Photo credit: Groupe SEB 

France’s Groupe SEB has reported challenging trading for its consumer appliance brands amid surging demand for its professional coffee equipment globally.
Reporting its first quarter results for 2023, Groupe SEB posted a 4.9% fall in total revenues to €1.82bn ($2bn).
The decline was attributed to an 8.4% fall in sales for its core consumer equipment business, which generated €1.61bn ($1.34bn) during the period amid ‘tough’ trading conditions in France, Germany and the US, alongside an ‘expected’ ‘soft’ performance in China.
In contrast, Groupe SEB’s Professional business made an ‘excellent’ start to 2023, posting 34% sales growth to €209m ($321m).
The French appliance consortium highlighted China as a ‘top performer’, crediting its ongoing contract to supply Luckin Coffee with its Schaerer fully automatic coffee machines.
Luckin Coffee first partnered with Schaerer in 2019, when the coffee chain ordered 2,000 Schaerer Coffee Soul fully automatic machines for its stores.
Luckin also utilises the Schaerer Premium Coffee Engine for its network of self-serve coffee machines.
Underlining the importance of the partnership for Groupe SEB, in May 2023 Luckin Coffee reported it had opened 1,137 stores in its first quarter and now operates 9,351 locations, including two stores in Singapore, its first international market.
Groupe SEB also reported strong Professional equipment sales in Germany, the US and the UK, which it said all ‘set their best sales records’.
Hotel equipment delivered an ‘outstanding’ first-quarter performance, Groupe SEB added.
The company also highlighted its acquisition of Italian espresso machine manufacturer La San Marco, which it said would ‘enrich’ the group’s existing product offering.
“2023 started with a quarter that met our expectations. The contraction in Consumer sales – notably in Europe and the United States – follows an all-time high first-quarter 2022 performance but represents a sequential improvement in business, having reached a low in the third quarter of 2022. The temporary slowdown in business in China during the first quarter was also expected. However, with respect to China, we anticipate to achieve positive growth in turnover over the next three quarters,” said Stanislas de Gramont, CEO, Groupe SEB.
High inflation has impeded consumer spending power during 2023 and contributed to a slowing of packaged coffee and home equipment sales following surging demand during Covid-19 lockdowns.
In March 2023, consumer appliance and coffee machine manufacturer De’Longhi reported a 2% fall in full-year sales amid falling demand for at-home coffee equipment.
Reporting its first quarter results, Swiss food and beverage giant Nestlé saw Nespresso coffee pod sales decline 2.2% globally following average product prices of more than 9% and what it described as a ‘post-pandemic normalisation’ of the at-home coffee market.
Conversely, Nestlé saw double-digit sales growth for its Nestlé Professional and Starbucks out-of-home solutions in the US and Europe.
US coffee and soft beverages giant Keurig Dr Pepper also reported a ‘slower start’ to coffee sales, which experienced a 1.3% decline during the period.
Groupe SEB owns prominent consumer appliance brands such as Tefal, Krups and Krampouz. Its professional brands include the WMF, Schaerer and Wilbur Curtis coffee machine manufacturers, with the group achieving revenues of €7.9bn ($8.6bn) revenues in 2022. 

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