Pernod Ricard has expressed confidence in the year ahead, despite reporting a 4% drop in like-for-like sales for its fiscal first quarter.

A 13% drop in wine and Champagne sales dragged down a spirits business that fell by only 2% for the three months to the end of September, compared to the same period of last year, Pernod Ricard said today (22 October).

Total sales for the period fell by 4% on an organic basis, to EUR1.65bn (US$2.5bn).

Sales of the group's 15 strategic brands, including Chivas Regal and Absolut vodka, fell by a combined 5% in value and 9% in volume for the period.

Shares in the France-based drinks giant rose by 3% on the Paris stock exchange this morning, however, after the group beat several analysts' expectations.

Pernod CEO Pierre Pringuet said: "The performance of this first quarter strengthens our confidence for the current financial year and our determination to increase advertising and promotion investment in our strategic brands."

Emerging markets, and particularly China and India, were "major growth drivers" of sales in the quarter, the firm said.

Asia was the only region to report organic sales growth (3%), with Americas, Europe and France down 2%, 11% and 3% respectively.

In terms of brands, like-for-like net sales of Mumm and Perrier-Jouët Champagne fell by 18% and 38% respectively for the period, reflecting a tough year for the Champagne sector in general.

However, there was sales growth of 13% for Martell, which has focused on more premium Cognac varieties, and also 2% growth for Jameson whiskey.

Pernod will issue profits guidance at its annual general meeting on 2 November.

For the full announcement, click here.

To read an update on the results, following Pernod's conference call, click here.