Global confectionery giant Lindt & Sprüngli has posted double-digit sales growth and margin improvement last year, helped by price increases and a rebound in travel retail.

The Swiss chocolate group posted organic sales growth of 10.3% in 2023 to CHF5.2bn, which was its third consecutive year of double-digit growth.

Despite a slowdown in the global chocolate market, the group was able to report a moderate volume/mix growth.

However, most of the growth was attributable to price increases as a result of higher raw material prices and inflationary pressure on other cost items.

Operating profits saw a significant rise of 9.2% year on year, reaching CHF813.1m as margins improved to 15.6% from 15.0%.

Europe grew organically by 9.1%, with double-digit growth in many European markets, including Switzerland, Italy, the UK, and eastern Europe. The group also generated solid growth in Germany and France.

North America was up 11% to CHF2.1bn as it continued to gradually expand its presence in the US, the world’s largest chocolate market. In the US, the focus remains on the premium segment, which is served by the global brand Lindt and local premium brands Ghirardelli and Russell Stover.

The rest of the world saw sales grow by 12.9% to CHF0.68bn, with strong sales in Japan and Brazil. The business maintained its position in Australia.

Global retail, where Lindt & Sprüngli operates shops and e-shops under the Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Russell Stover brands, made significant gains in the reporting year.

Sales in the shops posted double-digit organic growth in all market regions (overall 16.5%), driven by improved organic sales and new store openings to take the group’s network to 523 shops worldwide.

The Global Travel Retail business, in which Lindt products are sold in duty-free shops, returned almost to pre-Covid levels, with sales up 20.1% as passenger numbers improved.

For 2024, Lindt & Sprüngli said it was “very confident” that the group would be able to pursue its successful strategy and was convinced that the long-term trend towards premium products would continue.

It confirmed its strategic target for organic growth of 6% to 8%, as well as an improvement in operating margin of 20 to 40 basis points.

“The resilience in Lindt’s margin demonstrates their remarkable pricing power in the face of recent dramatic cocoa price inflation,” said Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne. “This is exactly what investors want to see from a high-quality staples business.”