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Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits remains intent on offloading some brands from its portfolio, despite more upbeat noises from the group's latest results.

Marie Brizards flagship brand is William Peel, the biggest-selling blended Scotch in France

Marie Brizard's flagship brand is William Peel, the biggest-selling blended Scotch in France

Earlier this week, the France-based company reported a 4% dip in sales from the three months to the end of September. The fall marked an improvement on the first half of 2018, however, with Marie Brizard highlighting the start of the tenure for its new CEO last month as grounds for optimism going forward.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits 2018 - Q3 Reported Sales by Cluster

FrancePolandWestern Europe, Middle East & AfricaCentral & Eastern EuropeAmericasAsia PacificSobieskiPrivate Label
Q3 201725.37.85.47.34.30.926.826.6
Q3 201822.69.75.174.40.627.422.7

Source: Company results

While a decline was recorded in performance in the group's domestic market, this was due in part to a broader slowdown across the country's whole spirits category. "This downturn in the market is more pronounced in the group's main categories, such as vodka which declined -2.8%, Scotch whisky down -5.9%, and flavoured wines which decreased -8.9%," said Marie Brizard. Also affecting sales was "the insufficient availability of 2017 vintage rosé".

A marked turnaround was recorded in Poland, where company sales leapt by almost a quarter, as H1 stock reductions of Marie Brizard's vodka stable returned to normal levels in the three months. Elsewhere, the Sobieski brand saw a packaging update accelerate destocking in the US, although levels in the country were also described as "normalised". The company warned, however, that it "remains cautious about the sustainability of the sales dynamic" for vodka in the US in the final quarter.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits 2018 - Nine-Month Reported Sales by Cluster

FrancePolandWestern Europe, Middle East & AfricaCentral & Eastern EuropeAmericasAsia PacificSobieskiPrivate Label
YTD 201780.531.215.921.215.52.675.567.6
YTD 201872.618.613.919.211.61.981.270.6

Source: Company results

The third quarter performance follows a tough first-half for the group, when sales fell 8% due to an 11% slide in the top-line from the second three months of the year.

Former Diageo executive Andrew Highcock assumed the position of CEO at Marie Brizard at the end of October. "He will spend the following several weeks meeting with MBWS staff, and with many of the key customers in countries where the group operates," Marie Brizard said yesterday.

The results statement concluded with the company noting that its project to sell some of its brands remains "in progress". In early-September, the threat of offloads reared into view as poor quarters came at the same time as debt repayments loomed.

Where has Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits gone wrong? - Click here for a just-drinks focus from September


Expert Analysis

Country Profile: Spirits in France

Country Profile: Spirits in France

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