Laurent-Perrier going strong after H1

Laurent-Perrier going strong after H1

Laurent-Perrier has raised a few gallic eyebrows by beating expectations in the first half of its fiscal year, but the celebrations will stay on ice as the Champagne group heads into its key Christmas season.

Laurent-Perrier's share price rose by almost 6% on the Paris Stock Exchange yesterday (30 November) after the Champagne house tripled net profits and reported a 13% jump in sales for the first half of its fiscal year. Once again, we have another account of consumers continuing to splash out on premium drinks in the face of possibly the worst economic crisis since the 1929 Wall Street Crash.

Perhaps there is an inverse reaction? Earlier today, UK brewer and pub owner Greene King attributed higher half-year sales to consumers seeking "everyday indulgences" as a way of finding some respite from the economic gloom. Put another way, it looks like consumers are drowning their sorrows. 

Have we got to a stage where things look set to be so bad for so long that more and more people are thinking that they may as well just have a drink? 

Possibly, but with the key Christmas season upon us, it's very much a case of wait and see. For Laurent-Perrier, the third quarter is absolutely key for the group. Last year, its third-quarter sales alone matched sales for the entire first half of the year.

Champagne, too, does not enjoy quite the same emerging market presence as some other categories; loaded Russian oligarchs aside. In China, they'd rather have an XO Cognac. 

Laurent-Perrier conceded that its second-half will be played out against a much worse economic backdrop in Europe. Champagne has so often been the canary in the economic mineshaft, falling flat at the first sign of real trouble. For now, though, the canary is still singing. And for that, we can be thankful.