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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 13, 2010
Restaurants, cafÚs, pubs, clubs
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In High Spirits
January 13, 2010   
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Bartosz BoŠko, chairman of the board of Toorank Polska SA, the Polish subsidiary of a Dutch producer and distributor of premium spirits, talks to Bo┐enna Osucha.

How badly has the market for alcoholic beverages in Poland been hit by the economic crisis?
According to various industry sources, sales of premium spirits fell between 25 percent to 35 percent in the third quarter of last year, although the final quarter was stronger. At the same time, competition in the main segment has clearly become more intense, which has resulted in a further fall in margins for this product group. Meanwhile, in the third quarter, Toorank Polska SA recorded a sales increase of 19.8 percent.

How did Toorank manage to do this when the premium spirits industry as a whole was hit so severely?
We showed a high degree of flexibility in thinking and acting, we quickly responded to the movements in the market in 2008, we rebuilt the company's organizational structure to come up with a hybrid hierarchical-network model, and we focused on the skills of our staff and carefully selected our portfolio. Starting from scratch in 1999, we have gained an almost 1% share of the very mature market in Poland, which is the fourth largest in terms of merchandise turnover in the world.

What do you expect this year to be like?
When I look at all the data and macroeconomic indicators, I think that 2010 will be very good for the Polish economy, both from the macroeconomic and microeconomic point of view. At the same time, I do not trust the over- optimistic predictions of some economists regarding 2010. It seems to me that this year will be a difficult period for business and the economy in which only those companies and organizations that have prepared themselves for many years will survive and strengthen their position.

What can we expect from Toorank Poland SA in 2010?
We have developed some innovative tools. One of them is a multifunctional web-based platform supporting commercial activities, a new model of product design which in general is operated online in real time, and finally we have introduced integrated business software which is being put into practice from the start of the year.

bartosz.bocko@toorank.com.pl
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