Pernod Ricard has seen sales of one of its flagship brands slide in the buoyant US spirits market.

The French drinks giant, which today (21 September) posted a strong performance for the year to 30 June, revealed that sales of Chivas Regal Scotch whisky had fallen in the US. Sales in volume terms were down by around 4% on the corresponding period a year earlier.

Chairman and CEO Patrick Ricard tried to play down the significance of the brand's weak performance in the US. "Chivas Regal performed very well in all other markets," he said. "So I think it's just a case of nobody's perfect."

Ricard added that Pernod was "doing all it can in the US" to stem the slide. He said: "Scotch is on a downward trend in the US, while other spirits brands are performing well."

Despite the fall in the US, which is widely held as one of the strongest spirits markets globally, Chivas Regal enjoyed a record year in 2005-2006. The brand almost broke the 9m 4-litre case barrier, shifting 3.9m cases.

Speaking to just-drinks in Paris, managing director Pierre Pringuet said: "It is not only a concern, there's a clear realisation that we need to rectify the situation."

Pringuet proffered that the Scotch category was struggling in the US, as the new generation of Scotch drinkers were moving more towards cocktails and tall drinks. "They aren't following their forefathers," he said.