The celebration came on the heels of an announcement by Habanos S.A. that its revenue only reached $360 million last year, an 8 percent decline from 2008. The new Romeo y Julieta that was unveiled at the event, designed to appeal to women, is ostensibly a direct response to two consecutive years of revenue declines. Since women comprise only 5 percent to 10 percent of Habanos' customers, the company is hoping that there's room for growth. The company is also relying on an economic recovery in Spain, which is its largest market.
Despite the new "ladies' line," the focus in Cuba last week was on the auction. The top humidor to move contained the new Cohiba Bieke cigar, fetching $681,000, close to two-thirds of the total. According to Oscar Basulto, Vice President of Habanos, this is the top premium cigar on the market – though I'm sure there are a few people in Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic who would disagree.