• Full-year operating profits rise by 1.3% to GBP139.8m (US$215.8m)
  • Sales in 2014 drop by 16.7% to GBP933.2m
William Grant & Sons released details of its 2014 performance this week

William Grant & Sons released details of its 2014 performance this week

William Grant & Sons has posted a lift in profits for 2014, despite a double-digit slide in sales in the period.

The privately-owned company, which is not obliged to issue financial details of its performance to the media, said earlier today that operating profits in the 12 months of 2014 inched up by 1.3% to GBP139.8m (US$215.8m). Sales in the year, however, were down by 16.7% to GBP933.2m, although the group said the decline had been expected.

"This (sales performance) was entirely due to a planned reduction in the distribution of third-party agency brands," the company said. "This strategic shift has allowed more focus on the group’s owned portfolio of core premium brands, which saw turnover increase by an impressive 9% year on year."

The performance follows full-year figures for 2013, released last September, that showed a 10.6% jump in operating profits on a 5.2% rise in sales.

The company hailed "record" results while noting "challenging conditions", including negative foregin exchange impacts and a declining Scotch whisky category.

In terms of brands, Glenfiddich and The Balvenie delivered strong value growth, while Hendrick's "continued to grow rapidly across the world".

William Grant saw its capital expenditure "remain at record levels", with EUR35m (US$39.7m) being spent last year on the new distillery for its Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey brand.

Earlier this month, the company confirmed that Glenfiddich had lost the top spot as the world's top-selling single malt brand to Pernod Ricard's The Glenlivet.