Marie Brizard commercial plan threatens 51 jobs

French group Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) has proposed a plan to “redeploy” its sales force in France, which would result in the loss of 51 jobs.

The company’s France subsidiary assembled with its Works Council to come up with the plan, which aims to “pool a part of its commercial activity with third-party distribution entities”.

MBWS has created a “proactive” plan to “restore its profitability” and cut costs.

The proposal would see MBWS France assign two entities to its majority shareholder, La Compagnie Financière Européenne de Prises de Participation (COFEPP): sales coverage of supermarkets and local stores, and sales coverage, customer negotiation, delivery and logistics in the on-premise channel.

MBWS said the partnership will enable the firm to “benefit” from these two units’ current resources to expand the distribution of the company’s products in France.

The French subsidiary would retain full control of its sales, marketing and brand development strategy while focusing its resources on the hypermarket channel – the group’s “most profitable channel and the one with the greatest potential” for MBWS’s growth in France.

According to the French group, “commercial activities in supermarkets, local stores and the on-premise channel have suffered from a lack of critical mass, leading to high costs per visit compared to turnover”.

Commenting on the projected job losses, MBWS said: “The group is committed to doing everything it can to minimise the consequences of the proposed plan on employment and to supporting its employees within the framework of any social measures that may be implemented.”

In a document published ahead of its AGM on 31 January, MBWS outlined the difficulties it has faced in recent months and put forward a rescue agreement. 

For the year ended 31 December 2018, MBWS saw its organic sales drop 6.2% to €389 million (US$440m).

The group is currently aiming to improve profitability in the years ahead through its “strategic relationship” with COFEPP, which also owns French drinks group La Martiniquaise-Bardinet.

MBWS previously announced its intention to sell a selection of brands in order to compensate for predicted 2018 losses, but later backtracked on the plan after failing to secure a binding offer.

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