Whisky giant behind Famous Grouse warns of 'significant' slump amid Covid
Famous Grouse whisky maker Edrington has warned of a “significant decline” in sales and profits in the current financial year as the Covid pandemic and global economic slump take their toll.
The group, which employs more than 3,500 people in its wholly owned and joint venture companies, said it had taken immediate action to minimise cash outflow and keep a lid on costs amid the current crisis.
It provided the cautious outlook as it reported solid financial results for the year ending 31 March 2020, including a 6 per cent year-on-year increase in core revenue to £699.6 million. Profit before tax grew by 10 per cent to £222.4m.
The distiller’s flagship brand, The Macallan, had another “outstanding” year, continuing to make progress towards its vision of becoming “the world’s ultimate spirit”. However, it was a mixed year for its other single malts, Highland Park and The Glenrothes, amid a “competitive” market.
The Famous Grouse is said to have cemented its position as Scotland and the UK’s number one whisky, but the blended Scotch category continued its long-term decline.
Chief executive Scott McCroskie said: “Edrington had a highly successful year in 2019/20. However, it is important that we recognise that these results largely reflect a pre-coronavirus world.
“While our business is on a sound financial footing, we do not underestimate the challenges we will continue to face as we navigate the crisis and emerge into an uncertain new environment.
“We anticipate a significant decline in global sales and profits in 2020/21. Our immediate response has been to minimise cash outflow and control costs. We will continue to manage the business prudently whilst we adapt rapidly to our new situation and seek to capitalise on emerging opportunities.
“I believe the business is well-equipped to respond to changes in both consumer preferences and the channels through which spirits are sold. Fundamentally, our capabilities are strong, and our brands are in good health and remain desirable to consumers..”
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