Diageo has reported a 6% fall in sales for its first fiscal quarter, but the drinks giant maintained profits guidance for the year.

Ongoing destocking by distributors in the US contrinuted to a 6% fall in like-for-like sales for the three months to 30 September, compared to the same period last year, Diageo said ahead of its Annual General Meeting today (14 October).

"As we anticipated consumer trends across our markets remain broadly unchanged since the year-end," said Diageo CEO Paul Walsh, who watched the group's share price fall following the announcement.

"In the first quarter of last year stock levels increased. However this year, stock levels have not risen in the first quarter and in our biggest market, North America, stock levels in our US spirits distributor channel are below those held at 30 June 2009."

Diageo, owner of Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Guinness, reiterated its full-year guidance for low single digit growth in like-for-like operating profits.

Walsh added: "The restructuring programme is on track to deliver the forecast benefit of a GBP120m (US$192m) reduction in costs year-on-year. In addition, we continued to benefit from efficiencies in marketing spend and media rate deflation."

For just-drinks' highlights of Diageo's first quarter, click here.