Lindt & Sprüngli will open three retail stores in São Paulo this year thanks to a joint venture with Brazilian premium chocolate specialist the CRM Group.
The Swiss chocolate group will own a majority stake of 51% in the joint venture Lindt & Sprüngli.
Lindt has been present in Brazil since 1969 through a local distributor and can also be found in duty free at two of the country’s largest airports - São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The joint venture marked the company’s first move to establish a retail network in the country.
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews, Lindt’s corporate communications officer Nina Keller said the move would deepen the company’s foothold in a country that was brimming with prospects.
“It’s the fifth biggest chocolate market in the world, so there’s big potential. There are 31 million potential consumers in Brazil’s social upper class and that’s our target because Lindt is a premium brand,” she said.
The ABICAB (Brazilian Association of Chocolate, Cocoa, Peanut, Candy and Derivatives) recently set up an exclusive board for the premium chocolate segment, estimating that premium chocolate accounts for around 6% of all chocolate confectionery sales in the country.
Keller said Lindt had experienced a strong sales growth in Brazil over the last few years via local distribution and so the company now wanted to expand further with an official retail presence.
Lindt can benefit from CRM’s experience and network
Lindt has been expanding its global network over the past few years, setting up subsidiaries in Japan, Russia and South Africa in recent years.
Its retail concept was established back in 2009 and Keller said that with around 200 stores worldwide, this network now generated about 9% of Lindt’s overall sales.
Asked why Lindt had opted to strike a joint venture in Brazil, rather than just set up a subsidiary like elsewhere, she said the company had local knowledge to gain from the CRM Group.
“It’s really hard if you don’t know the market and you go there and want a prime location you need a really good network. The CRM Group has this, they already have 800 shops up and running - their own and franchises – so they are very well established,” she said.
The CRM Group also dealt in premium chocolate, she added, so a partnership made sense.
Shopping malls by 2015
Beyond the three São Paulo stores in 2014, Lindt plans to roll out into shopping malls and other premium locations in 2015, Keller explained.
“The company will target the big cities – where the people live that consume chocolate, people that have the purchasing power,” she said.
Keller added that Lindt was very happy that it would have a retail presence in the country for the World Cup.
“We’ve been at the Olympics in London and we had a little presence in Sochi this year. I think it’s a great opportunity to present the brand and allow people to sample it during the event. It’s a good way of getting consumers to experience a brand,” she said.