Pernod Ricards Q1 sales leap

Pernod Ricard's Q1 sales leap

Stronger-than-expected growth for Martell Cognac in Asia has driven Pernod Ricard to a 14% rise in sales in its fiscal first quarter.

Martell sales by 45% in value during the three months to the end of September, against the same period of last year. Stronger momentum for the Cognac brand in Asia, and particularly China, helped Pernod to increase group sales by 14% to EUR1.88bn (US$1.67bn) for the quarter. The rise represents a 10% increase on last year after stripping out exchange rate gains.

Healthy Champagne sales, ongoing demand for Jameson Irish whiskey and rebounding Scotch whisky sales also contributed strongly to the results, which saw Pernod more than claw back a 4% drop in sales in the first quarter of last year.

Pernod Ricard's CEO, Pierre Pringuet, said that the group expected to achieve "close to" a 6% rise in like-for-like profits from recurring operations for the full-year. "The very good performance of the first quarter, which was driven by the top 14 [brands] and supported by our marketing investment, confirms our confidence in the current financial year," he said.

During the quarter, Asia saw like-for-like sales increase by 25%, while Russia led Europe to a 2% rise, offsetting a sharp decline in crisis-hit Greece and low-single-digit falls in UK, Spain and Ireland. Sales in the US were flat against last year, although Pernod said that it saw "gradual improvement" in the market.

Of the brands, Perrier-Jouet sales bounced back with a 36% sales rise, in-line with rebounding fortunes for Champagne in general. Jameson saw a 27% increase in sales, buoyed by demand in the US. The firm's big-hitting Scotch  whiskies, Ballantine's, The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal, reported sales up by 16%, 14% and 14% respectively.

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