France-based BIC Group, parent company of Top 40 supplier BIC Graphic (asi/40480), has announced that first quarter net sales totaled 469.2 million Euros – about $511.5 million dollars. That’s down 4.1% on a constant currency basis from the same quarter the prior year. In an earnings statement, BIC said that weak sales of stationery and shavers in North America dragged down sales.
Overall, BIC’s European business grew 2.4%, but net sales in North America and developing markets declined by 9.2% and 3.4%, respectively. Nonetheless, BIC is still forecasting a revenue increase for the year.
“With the launch of BIC Gel-ocity Quick Dry Gel Pen in the U.S., additional distribution gains in developing markets, and the continued solid performance of our shaver business in Eastern Europe and Latin America, full-year 2017 organic net sales should grow mid-single digit, in line with our objectives,” said CEO/Chairman Bruno Bich.
Despite the slip in revenue, first quarter gross profit rose from 236.8 million euros (about $258 million in current exchange terms) in last year’s Q1 to 245.7 million euros ($267.8 million), according to BIC’s earnings statement. However, income from group operations declined by 8.8%, while net income group share fell 2.7%.
Earlier this year, BIC announced that it was undertaking a strategic review of BIC Graphic. BIC told Counselor Tuesday that discussions regarding BIC Graphic North America and its Asia sourcing operations are still ongoing. As a result of this review, BIC is not reporting BIC Graphic results as a separate category or reporting segment.
Counselor ranks BIC Graphic as the fourth largest supplier in the industry, after the firm reported 2015 North American promo product sales of $321.2 million.