Laurent-Perrier quietly confident

Laurent-Perrier quietly confident

Champagne house Laurent-Perrier has reported a return to sales growth in its fiscal third quarter.

Net sales for the three months to the end of December rose by 7.3% to EUR74.8m (US$103m), against EUR69.8m in the same period of 2008, Laurent-Perrier said today (10 February).

A fall of 23% in the first half of the year means that the Champagne house still saw sales drop 9% for the first nine months of its fiscal year, to EUR140.6m.

But, a 30% rise in third quarter volume sales helped the firm reverse earlier volume declines and post a 5.4% rise in volume sales for the nine months - out-stripping market figures.

Sales held up well in France and rebounded in several European markets, notably the UK and Belgium, said Laurent-Perrier, which saw its share price rise 1% on the Paris Stock Exchange this morning.

It remained cautious on recovery. "The coming quarters will allow us more visibility to evaluate whether destocking in export markets is finished and whether a recovery in consumption is emerging," said the group.

The firm saw net profits fall 85% in the first half of its fiscal year.

It said today that it remains confident of reducing debts and that it will continue to focus on the Lauren-Perrier brand and efforts to improve price/mix. Third quarter profits figures have not yet been released.