Local brands may find pandemic easier to manage

Earlier this month, Stock Spirits reported revenue rose 15% during the first half of its fiscal year due to stockpiling in Poland and the Czech Republic, plus a strong off-trade performance that was boosted by the Covid-19 lockdown.

The group said its off-trade strategy – which accounts for around 85% of its business – helped to mitigate any impact from the closure of bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Approximately 15% of the firm’s business comes from the on-trade.

Speaking to The Spirits Business, Mirek Stachowicz, Stock Spirits chief executive officer, said: “I think there are pluses and minuses to every business model. I had to answer challenges about why don’t we make our brands more international.

“But the current situation plays to our strengths, agility and ability to respond to different conditions in different markets, with brand portfolios stretching across different price points.

“In our results for the first half of our financial year, when you take out the fact Covid was only in March, the results of our first half are proving this is a viable business model even without Covid.”

Stachowicz said Stock Spirits would continue pursuing new product development (NPD) and new releases where possible, despite the Covid-19 crisis.

“We are committed to carrying on with our NPD products and because of the strength of our route to market we can do this,” Stachowicz added. “We don’t have to reduce our programme of new product launches because we are locally based, we have a powerful sales forces, and even though changes and stores has impacted us to some extent, this will make us more competitive.

“Many operators who don’t have a direct market presence will suffer, but we can leverage this route to market so we don’t see a need to reduce our NPD products – especially as we expect consumer demand to remain robust.”

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