Laurent-Perrier has reported a healthy lift in sales for the first half of its financial year, outstripping the growth rate of Champagne in general.

The French Champagne house said yesterday (13 November) that sales in the six months to the end of September were up by 15% on the corresponding period a year earlier, hitting EUR115.4m (US$169.5m). The group noted that the Champagne market overall has grown by only 6.4% since the beginning of 2007.

Laurent-Perrier credited the increase to rising export sales of its brands, particularly in Japan. Its flagship Laurent-Perrier brand saw sales in the country benefit from a new distribution deal with Suntory, which began at the start of this year.

"This dynamic made it possible to increase the weight of exports in the Laurent-Perrier brand's sales by more than one percentage point," the company said.

Moving forward, however, the company warned that sales growth in the second half of its fiscal year, thanks in part to an expected fall in Japanese exports. "All the additional stock required for the launch with Suntory has now been supplied," the company said.

Laurent-Perrier will issue its full results for the half year on 23 November.