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How did Brown-Forman perform in H1 fiscal-2020? - results data

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  • Second-quarter sales climb 6% to US$989m
  • Top line in six months to end of October up 3% to $1.8bn
  • Launch of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple offsets 1% sales dip for Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey in US
  • Overall Jack Daniel's portfolio also down 1% in first half
  • Full-year sales growth forecast of 5%-7% reaffirmed

A healthy second quarter has boosted Brown-Forman's performance in the first half of the group's fiscal-2020.

Brown-Forman bounced back in the second quarter of its fiscal-2020

Brown-Forman bounced back in the second quarter of its fiscal-2020

Following a flat showing in the three months to the end of July, the Jack Daniel's owner today posted a 6% increase in sales in the three months to the end of September. The bounceback resulted in sales in the overall six-month period growing by 3%, signalling success for the company in dealing with the ongoing tariff war that is affecting its prices outside of the US.

Brown-Forman Fiscal-2020 - Sales versus 2019 - Reported

Source: Company results

In its domestic market, Brown-Forman's largest, sales were up 6%, thanks in part to the launch of the apple-flavoured expression of Jack Daniel's in the country in October. Premium Bourbon, including the Woodford Reserve and Old Forester brands, was joined by the group's Tequila portfolio in delivering double-digit sales jumps in the US.

Elsewhere, Russia was up 22%, the UK slipped 1% and Germany came in flat. Brown-Forman's Global Travel Retail unit was hampered by higher order-phasing in the year-prior, resulting in an 8% decrease in sales in H1 fiscal-2020.

Brown-Forman H1 fiscal-2020 - Brand Performance vs 2019

VolumesReported SalesOrganic Sales
Jack Daniel's Family252
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskeynull1-1
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey837
Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire4null3
Jack Daniel's RTD/RTP367
Gentleman Jack654
Woodford Reserve222520
Vodka (Finlandia)-6-8-7
El Jimador7813
Herradura132119
All other brands2151
Other non-brandednull-21-21
Total Portfolio153

Source: Company results

The Jack Daniel's stable returned to growth, rising 2% following Q1's 1% decrease in sales. Despite this, the portfolio's flagship whisky was down 1%, although this was an improvement on Q1's -4% showing for the brand.

Premium Bourbon continued to shine, jumping 22%, as did the Herradura and El Jimador Tequila brands, rising 19% and 13%, respectively.

Finally, Finlandia maintained its downward trend, with the vodka's sales decreasing by 7% in the half-year.

CEO Lawson Whiting

"As expected, our results improved during the second quarter. We continue to deliver solid underlying growth from both a geographic and portfolio perspective, despite the uncertain global economic and geopolitical environment. Today, we reaffirmed our underlying net sales outlook for the year and remain on track to deliver another year of mid-single-digit growth in underlying net sales led by the Jack Daniel's family of brands, including the launch of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple in the US, as well as sustained double-digit growth from our premium Bourbon and Tequila portfolios.

"We continue to build our business for the long-term. Our [off-premise] trends remain healthy in many major markets as we continue to invest in consumer momentum by absorbing most tariff-related costs. We believe this, coupled with increased investments in advertising and route-to-consumer changes in certain markets, position us well for the next generation of growth."

To read Brown-Forman's official first-quarter results statement, click here.

Why the spirits category should look backwards to move forwards - Click here for a just-drinks comment


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