Marnier-Lapostolle has reported a 1.6% fall in sales in the first quarter of 2009.

Net sales for the first three months of this year fell to EUR24.8m (US$32.6m), compared to EUR25.2m for the same period last year, the French drinks group said late last week.

Sales were boosted by a strengthening US dollar, the company said, although, onn a constant exchange rate basis, first quarter sales dropped by 9%.

Marnier-Lapostolle's US business saw volume sales fall by 10.5% for the three months, added the family-owned group, which owns the Grand Marnier liqueur brand.

The firm's first quarter decline follows on from a 20% drop in first quarter sales in 2008. Group sales fell by 10% for the 12 months of 2008.