Brown-Forman released its first-quarter results earlier today

Brown-Forman released its first-quarter results earlier today

Earlier today, Brown-Forman posted its Q1 results. Here, just-drinks takes a closer look at the company's performance by region and brand in the three months to the end of July.

Regions

Brown-Forman highlighted the collective performance of its emerging markets, which posted a 10% increase in reported sales in the quarter. Double-digit growth came from Turkey, Russia, Brazil, and Indonesia. Mexico saw sales improve thanks to a year-on-year comparison that was hampered by inventory reduction. Poland “remained under pressure” due to the increase in excise tax on strong alcohol in early-2014.

In the US, sales slipped by 2% due to the “price-driven buy-ins” in the same quarter a year earlier. “The reduction in inventory levels … resulted from the company’s decision to slow the rate of price increases versus each of the prior two years.” Brown-Forman expects volumes in the US to improve over the full-year.

In Brown-Forman's other developed markets, net sales inched up collectively by 2%. The UK and Germany were both down by double digits due to “challenging prior-year comparisons in both markets, a reduction in trade promotions in the UK and variability in purchasing patterns in Germany”. Sales in France were strong as the launch of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey earlier this year benefited performance.

Australia, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands were all described as “solid”, but Italy, Spain and Japan all reported decreasing sales.

Global Travel Retail saw sales leap by 31% thanks to “price increases, successful innovation, and new product launches”.

Brands

Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's stable delivered a 5% lift in sales, driven by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, which saw underlying net sales leap by 29%.

Elsewhere in the company's whiskey portfolio, Woodford Reserve and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack, Sinatra Select, No. 27 Gold, and Collingwood collectively grew underlying net sales by double digits. 

Old Forester was also up by double digits, with the Woodford Reserve expressions jumping by 29%.

Finlandia suffered in Q1 – sales fell by 13% - with Poland being the chief culprit.

El Jimador and Herradura reported 15% and 20% sales rises, respectively, thanks primarily to the US and Mexico.

Finally, the Southern Comfort brand continued its struggles – sales were down by 7% - due to “continued pressure from flavoured whiskies as well as weakness in the on-premise”.