Comment - Gruppo Campari signals spirits sector resurgence

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Gruppo Campari's first quarter results have added some blossom to those oft-cited green shoots of recovery.

Campari's share price rose by 4% on the Milan Stock Exchange today (13 May) after the group reported double-digit rises in both sales and profits for the first three months of 2010.

Not only did the group rebound to a higher net sales figure - EUR223.6m - than the EUR190m total reached in both 2009 and 2008, but it also did so without great gains in foreign currency rates and negating the influence of Wild Turkey Bourbon.

In other words, a lot of the sales growth was organic, which bodes well for the spirits sector's attempts to recover from a disappointing 2009.

Following on from sales rebounds at larger rivals Diageo and Pernod Ricard over the last month or so, Campari's results can only inspire confidence - paerticularly in the Americas, where the group reported a 12% increase in sales for its Skyy Spirits division.

If 2009 was all about resilience in spirits, 2010 could yet be the year of resurgence.

However, we can expect the strong figures to ebb away towards the second half of the calendar year, due to tougher comparables. 

We can only hope that Greece does not bring down the world markets like a house of cards...

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