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Retail

Consumer backlash preserves Bahlsen Christmas cookies

German cookie-maker Bahlsen has scrapped plans to cancel its production of seasonal Christmas goodies. The firm said it had been forced to reverse the decision, after being surprised by public reaction to the move.

Germany's cookie-producing giant Bahlsen announced on Friday it would not stop its production of Christmas goodies for the home market as planned earlier in the year.

The Hanover-based company said it had reconsidered its July decision because of massive consumer protests over its announcement to opt out of making seasonal products for the German market such as its famed cookies, gingerbread, and star-shaped cinnamon biscuits.

"We gravely underestimated the emotional attachment of our customers to our traditional Christmas goodies, the firm's chief executive, Michael Bahlsen, told the Hannoversche Allgemeine daily.

Company image upheld

Bahlsen's original intention to drop the production of Christmas cookies for the home market was based on profitability considerations, with domestic competition in the sector becoming tougher.

The company had said the production of seasonal products required a lot of special spices and materials which had to be imported at a higher cost, not to mention the hiring of additional seasonal staff to cope with the increased workload.

Bahlsen said profit margins in Germany had become too small to make it worth their while, compared to the gains secured in neighboring Austria or Switzerland. But angry German consumers persuaded Bahlsen to keep making its seasonal products for many more Christmas seasons to come. The firm warned, though, that it would have to reduce its product range to head off possible losses.

Bahlsen, which also includes the Leibniz cookie brand (pictured above), last year logged global revenues of 521 million euros ($682 million).

hg/pfd   (dpa, AFP)