Paris (awp / afp) – The Bic group (stationery, lighters, razors) has revised its 2019 forecast down due to a weaker third quarter than expected, due in particular to the deterioration of the market for lighters in the United States .
The group now expects a change in its sales on a comparable basis between 0% and -2.0%, compared to the slight growth initially forecast, he said in a statement Friday evening.
Revenues for the third quarter are expected to fall by 0.5% and the first nine months by 1.2%, on a comparable basis.
In addition, the operating margin for 2019 is expected to be in the low end of the initial range of 16.5% to 18%.
In particular, explains the group, the further deterioration of the lighter market in the United States, where Bic makes about 40% of its sales, all departments combined.
Bic maintained its market share in the United States, both in volume and value, but "the US market for pocket lighters remains highly disturbed," the statement said. It is down -8.5% in volume and -6% in value, compared to the same period last year. Over the last 3 months, the market has declined in volume and value by -9.5% and -8.1% respectively.
"The deterioration dates from the beginning of the year, but there is an acceleration of the trend," says AFP Sophie Palliez-Capian, director of institutional relations.
Lighters represent about a third of Bic's sales.
Stationery sales were also weakened, with poor performance in the United States and Mexico during the start of the school year, an important period for Bic since re-entry sales represent about 40% of the stationery turnover.
"In Mexico and the United States, we lost market share during the school year, with very strong competition in Mexico across the entire product line," says Palliez-Capian.
Finally, Bic cites a slower than expected pickup in domestic sales from its Cello pen subsidiary in the third quarter.
Bic says it will continue to focus on the effects of a transformation plan announced in February, which should enable it to save 45 million euros per year from 2022.
afp / rp