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It’s a Sweet Job

Chocolate is serious business for Kansas City?s Russell Stover Co. – an $18 billion?U.S. retail market – and managing the highly seasonal sales presents unique?financial challenges, CFO Daniel Egli told FEI Kansas City members at the March?dinner meeting. Russell Stover has four dramatic revenue spikes a year, all?gift-giving occasions: Valentine?s Day (the steepest spike of all since men tend to?buy candy hearts at the last minute), Easter, Mother?s Day and Christmas. Daniel?says Russell Stover is No. 3 in the chocolate market with a 4.4% share. Forecasting?for manufacturing quantities, working capital and the like is challenging, with?minimal sales most of the year but four crucial times to go to the market. Finance also?is working on planning for new approaches to add revenue in the slow times, and?helping the management team evaluate new products that fit Russell Stover?s brand?but may complement the existing mix to increase sales and profitability. To sweeten?the deal for FEI-ers, Daniel brought along gift bag assortments of the goodies for?everyone attending.?He also discussed cultural change?in Russell Stover since its 2014 acquisition by Lindt & Spr?ngli AG, a Swiss?chocolatier that also owns the Lindt and Ghirardelli brands. Daniel joined Russell?Stover as CFO in December from Procter & Gamble.

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