By Martin Vedris

ECULLY, FRANCE: Groupe SEB’s worldwide reported sales for the first six months of 2008 rose by 14.8 per cent to €1,413.5 million (AUD$2,333 million) with sales in the Asia-Pacific region doubling over the same period.

Groupe SEB Australia and New Zealand managing director, Wivina Chaneliere, said that the company performed “very strongly in the Australian and New Zealand markets with very strong growth across our cookware and electrical business”.

“We have done very well across our traditional electrical categories as well as through launching new products in new categories,” Chaneliere said. “The strong results we have achieved have carried through and we believe we will be able to maintain this momentum.

“With our strong commitment to new product launches and bringing new innovations to traditional categories as well as continued investment across our brands through TVCs, PR, promotions, demonstrations and training there is more opportunity for growth. The results also reflect the strong support shown by our retail partners who we will continue to work closely with.”

At the global level, this is the third year in a row that Groupe SEB has had a good first half and in a statement the company credited the growth this year to solid organic growth despite a more mixed second quarter marked by a slowdown in a few European countries. The company also said the revenue growth was led by a further improvement in the product mix and firm prices.

In the Asia-Pacific region., Groupe SEB reported that its sales doubled in the first half, while organic growth amounted to 10.9 per cent. In a round-up of the region the company stated that in Japan first-half sales were up slightly despite the weak yen. Sales remained very strong in South Korea in spite of the decline in the won and were also very robust in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. In China, first-half sales in its domestic market rose by 37 per cent.

Back in Australia, Chaneliere said that the market response to its new products, Quick Cup and Actifry, has been positive.

“We supported the launch of Quick Cup with a national TVC and PR campaign over the Mother’s Day period and the sales results were very strong over April and May where we achieved number one in value in May for kettles category. This is a great result as this category is usually dominated by kettles which are well below the $30 price point.

“Actifry has also been very well received and we have had an overwhelming response from consumers from the Good Food and Wine Show in Sydney and Perth. We believe Actifry is going to perform very strongly. Again, it is a product that brings a lot of innovation into the electrical cooking category and consumers are attracted to the health benefits offered by Actifry.

“With the Actifry you can cook all your favourite dishes with almost no oil. For example, you can cook a kilo of chips with only one spoon of oil, which means only three per cent fat. The product is very versatile because you can cook an unlimited variety of meals such as meat, seafood, chicken drumsticks, vegetable stir fry just to name a few.”