Pernod Ricard released its full-year results today

Pernod Ricard released its full-year results today

Pernod Ricard's Absolut vodka has bucked a slowdown in emerging markets to post strong growth in key regions.

The French company today (29 August) posted a 3% rise in full-year profits, but saw slower growth in countries including China and Brazil. China saw sales growth slow to 9% while Brazil “experienced difficulties”, Pernod said.

However, Absolut appeared resilient to global economic headwinds, growing sales by 5% over the year. In Brazil, the vodka jumped by 24% despite the category only growing by 16%. In China, where Scotch sales were hit by government anti-gifting measures, it posted a FY double-digit sales increase.

“Absolut has taken off very well in the vodka category in China,” Pernod Ricard CEO Pierre Pringuet told analysts in a call after the results. “In fact, we've doubled our sales, so it is becoming an important brand.”

Even in developed markets such as France, where overall sales were down 7%, Absolut sales were up by 5%. 

In the US, Absolut sales grew by 2%, down against the global average. Pringuet blamed “a very competitive market”. The vodka has seen price rises over the year in six US states, he added.

Meanwhile, Pringuet said the travel retail sector remained “highly profitable” and if it were a country would be Pernod's third or fourth biggest market.

“It is a very special country,” Pringuet said.

Pernod has continued to support the Absolut portfolio's global growth with a redesign of the brand's flavoured range, unveiled this month.