Global spirits giant Pernod Ricard has steadily increased its sales in the quarter ending 30 September, but highlighted the varied environment, with growth in Europe and the US but a slowdown elsewhere weighed down by Chinese economic woes.
The owner of Paisley-based Chivas Brothers, Scotland’s second-largest distiller, said its overall net sales in the period, the first quarter of its financial year, amounted to €2.22 billion (£1.62bn). That compares to €2.04bn in the year-ago period.
It reported organic sales growth of 3 per cent, “confirming the continuation of a gradual improvement in sales growth”.
According to the company, Europe reported a “good” start at 3 per cent, noting positive growth in the UK and Spain.
For the latter it said there was a confirmed rebound, with a resilient performance by Pernod Ricard, led by the gin portfolio including Beefeater, and Seagram’s Gin, with an increase returning from Scotch brands Ballantine’s and Chivas.
The firm also highlighted growth in Germany with particular market-share gains for the Jameson, Havana Club and Absolut UK brands. An increase of 6 per cent in the Americas was driven by the US, it said, attributing the 1 per cent deceleration in Asia and the rest of the world to the “difficult” environment in China. The country – the world’s second-largest economy – showed its slowest growth since early 2009 in the three months to end-September, increasing by 6.9 per cent, down from the previous quarter’s 7 per cent.
Pernod Ricard said its overall reported growth was 9 per cent on a “highly favourable” foreign exchange impact over the period.
Its Top 14, which comprises strategic brands including Absolut Vodka and Mumm champagne, grew by 2 per cent, with the group citing Jameson and The Glenlivet as drivers of this increase.
An improvement in the UK and Australia saw priority premium wines rebound at 8 per cent.
Alexandre Ricard, chairman and chief executive officer, said: “The beginning of the financial year is consistent with our scenario of continued gradual improvement in sales in a contrasted environment.”
He said the aim is organic growth in profit from recurring operations of 1 per cent to 3 per cent in the current financial year, “and we expect a positive but volatile foreign exchange impact”. Ricard added: “We continue to implement our long-term growth strategy, while increasing investments behind our priority brands and innovations and remaining very disciplined on costs and pricing.”