Castle Brands has reported a rise in full-year sales off lower volumes for its fiscal full-year.

Net sales for the 12 months to the end of March reached US$28.5m, up by 9% on sales of $26m in the previous year, Castle Brands said yesterday (29 June).

The rise came despite group volume sales falling to 286,186 nine-litre cases, from 290,338 cases a year earlier. US case sales rose by 5.5%, however, driven by Gosling’s rums and Jefferson's Bourbons. The US accounts for just over three quarters of the firm's total volumes.

Lower advertising spend, cost controls, foreign exchange gains and the sale of Sam Houston Bourbon helped Castle Brands to cut net losses to $2.9m, versus losses of $21.7m in the previous year.

The group also reported a $4.8m impairment charge on its brands and assets in the prior year.

"We continue to execute on our strategy to build our own premium brands, support our existing agency brands, pursue new agency relationships and make brand acquisitions," said Richard Lampen, president and CEO of Castle.

"We also recognise that ongoing expense discipline is an essential part of achieving our goals. Our confidence in our future vision is underscored by our June 2010 repurchase of approximately 3.8m shares of Castle Brands common stock and our new 2.5m share stock repurchase programme."

In the fourth quarter, net sales rose by 9.4% to $5.9m, while net losses shrank to $1.6m from $9m in the same period of the previous year.

Earlier this month, Castle signed a partnership deal with New York-based Grand Cru Selections to expand its premium wine business.