• FY operating profits fall 1.2% to GBP124.8m
  • Sales up 1.4% to GBP1.06bn
  • 'Core' brand sales up 7% 
Full-year sales were up for William Grant & Sons in what it described as a challenging year

Full-year sales were up for William Grant & Sons in what it described as a challenging year

UK spirits group William Grant & Sons has seen its full-year sales edge up, but profits fell slightly after what the company described as a “challenging” year.

The privately-owned firm, which owns the Scotch brands Glenfiddich, Grant's and The Balvenie, said that operating profits in 2012 were down by 1.2% at GBP124.8m (US$201.7m). Sales in the period rose by 1.4% to GBP1.06m. 

The company’s 'core' brands saw sales increase by 7% year-on-year, it said. 

"Whilst the tough global economic conditions made 2012 a challenging year, with consumer confidence in Europe in particular remaining low, the company continued to strengthen its business by investing in core brands and global infrastructure for the long term, which explains the slight reduction in profits," the group said in a statement. 

Capital spend rose last calendar year, the company noted, including upgrades to its Glenfiddich and Tullamore D.E.W. visitor centres. 

Turning to its non-whisk(e)y brands, the company said Hendrick’s gin had seen “rapid value growth across all regions”. Its spiced rum brand Sailor Jerry also gained exposure through its first TV ad campaign.