Havana Clubs sales were flat in the six months to the end of December

Havana Club's sales were flat in the six months to the end of December

The CEO of Pernod Ricard has voiced his disappointment with the performance of Havana Club in the first half of the company's fiscal year.

The Cuban rum brand, produced through a joint-venture between Pernod and state-owned Cuba Ron, saw sales flatline in the six months to the end of December. The performance comes on the back of consistently healthy performances for Havana Club in recent years: Sales in the 12 months to the end of June last year reached an all-time record high. In Pernod's first quarter, however, sales for the brand were down by 2% with volumes rising by 1%.

Speaking to media at a briefing in London this morning (21 February), CEO Pierre Pringuet said he felt a return to sales growth for Havana Club is imminent. “I would agree, it's disappointing,” said Pringuet. “We started the JV in 1993. Since then, we've had year-on-year double-digit growth on the brand. So, zero is disappointing.”

Pringuet highlighted tough economic conditions in two of Havana Clubs main markets, Italy and Spain, for the flat performance. “Also,” he added, “we had a change of distributor in the fast-growing market of Chile: That always creates de-stocking.

“The past six months were not the most satisfactory,” he continued, “but I have no doubt that Havana Club will return to positive growth and possibly to a double-digit rate.

Pringuet also said that the company is lining up the launch of a new Havana Club variant in Spain. 'Ritual by Havana Club' will be released this month, targeting both male and female consumers in the country. “Even in a market like Spain,” he said, “we are making investments, with the idea of boosting the performance of Havana Club.”

When asked for a time frame for a return to growth, Pringuet said: “I don't know. But, the sooner the better.”