Falling Champagne sales pushed Remy Cointreau to a 4% sales decline for the first nine months of its fiscal 2008-09.

Net revenue fell to EUR604.5m (US$789m) for the nine-month period ended 31 December, the firm said today (22 January). Organic revenue rose by 0.9%. 

The figure reflecta a double-digit decline for Remy's partner brands and a 6.5% decrease in Champagne sales, particularly in the US, the firm said. 

Operating profit for the full-year is likely to fall 15%, Remy said, due to restructuring and costs associated with the group's planned exit from the Maxxium distribution venture at the end of March.

Remy has repeatedly labelled its current financial year a "transition period". It promised today to press ahead with plans to raise prices in order to position itself higher in the market and said that it was satisfied with its nine-month results, against an "exceptional economic background".

Cognac provided better news for the firm, with revenue creeping up by 0.7% to EUR271m. Organic Cognac sales rose by 4.2% as growth in China and in the travel retail sector offset a slowdown in the US. Russian sales suffered "due to wholesalers' lack of cash", the group added.