France-based BIC Group, the parent company of Top 40 supplier BIC Graphic (asi/40480), reported a 6.8% increase in sales on a comparative basis for the first quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, BIC Graphic – the company’s promotional product and advertising division – grew its Q1 sales by 2.4% on a comparative basis. This is the second consecutive quarter of sales gains for BIC Graphic.
“We delivered good Q1 2015 results, with solid sales performance across all geographies and an improvement in profitability,” BIC Group CEO Mario Guevara said in a statement. “Our consumer business posted robust organic growth in lighters and shavers, benefiting from distribution gains and new product launches. BIC Graphic confirmed positive sales momentum in an ever-changing environment.”
BIC Graphic’s sales recovery was driven by a strong performance in Europe with increases in writing instrument sales and new product launches. The supplier attributed weaker results in North America “due to a poor end of season performance in the calendar business,” while hard goods from the company performed to expectations. BIC Graphic demonstrated an improvement in gross profit as its normalized IFO margin for the quarter was -6.7% compared to -7.2% in 2014.
For the full year, BIC Group is predicting growth between 4-5% on a comparative basis. The company expects BIC Graphic’s normalized IFO margin to improve for the year and the consumer side of the business to stay consistent with last year’s. “These first three months reinforce our confidence to achieve our full year 2015 objectives,” Guevara said.
On its Top 40 list, Counselor ranks BIC Graphic as the fourth-largest supplier in the industry. The firm recently reported 2014 North American ad specialty sales of $323 million, a 3.2% increase over 2013.