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Campari Beats Expectations Thanks To U.S. Spirits Demand

Italy's Campari beat like-for-like sales expectations in the first quarter, helped by growing spirits consumption in the United States and northern Europe.

Sales in Italy were suffering only marginally from pandemic-related restrictions on bars and restaurants in the quarter, the company said.

"Overall we had a very solid and satisfactory start to the year with good brand momentum, driven by sustained home consumption," Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said on Tuesday.

The maker of Aperol aperitif and Campari bitter reported sales of €398 million ($477.8 million) in the quarter. That was up 17.9% year on year on an organic basis, stripping out currency swings and acquisitions or asset disposals, against analyst expectations of 6-7%.

Adjusted operating profit jumped 43% year on year to €68.5 million.

Shares

Shares in the beverage group were up 4.3% at 1020 GMT, outperforming a flat Milan blue-chip index.

In the United States, Campari's biggest market, sales of the group's Wild Turkey bourbon whiskey showed a 31% first-quarter increase.

SKYY vodka and Grand Marnier liqueur also boosted growth thanks to a brand relaunch for SKYY and advance shipments of Grand Marnier in the United States.

But aperitif brands, Campari's traditional engine of growth before the COVID-19 pandemic, turned in a subdued performance. Aperol's sales were largely flat, hit by weakness in the United States and lockdowns affecting consumption outside homes.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more drinks stories click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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