• Like-for-like sales down 3%
  • Asia drives improvement in Q2
  • US remains tough

Pernod Ricard has reported a 3% drop in like-for-like sales for its fiscal half-year.

Emerging markets in Asia went some way to offset ongoing weakness in Europe and the US in the six months to the end of December, said the French wine and spirits giant today (14 December). 

Like-for-like sales improved in the second quarter, to a 2% fall against a 4% drop in the first quarter.

Sales were in-line with expectations and organic profits for the full-year are still expected to rise by 1-3%, said Pernod, which owns Absolut vodka, Jameson whiskey, Beefeater gin and Martell Cognac.

Spirits brands fared better than wine and Champagne brands, which include Montana and Perrier Jouet, it said.

"Asia showed a good performance over the first semester, with confirmed dynamism in China and India and first signs of recovery in South Korea and in duty free markets," said the firm.

But, the group reported sluggish sales in the US: "Our sales in the US have not yet benefited from the economic recovery," it said.

Many analysts predicted half-year sales declines for Pernod and main rival Diageo, which runs on the same fiscal calendar. This is due to the economic downturn and both companies cycling tough comparable sales in the same period of 2008.

Pernod will report half-year results in full on 18 February.

Read the just-drinks interview with Beefeater and Plymouth gin brands director Simon Burley, published today.