Spirits giant Pernod Ricard said on Thursday it was confident sales growth would remain dynamic through its 2023 fiscal year after it delivered forecast-beating sales in the first quarter helped by price increases as consumers trade up to its premium spirits.
Pernod, the world's second-biggest spirits group behind Diageo, successfully raised prices in the United States, its top market, in the quarter while demand was strong in China during the Mid-Autumn festival and in India and a rebound in global travel retail continued.
"I am hugely encouraged by our start to the year," chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard said in a statement.
In an environment that remained volatile with high inflation, the war in Ukraine, and COVID-19 lockdowns in some Chinese cities, the group said it expected sales growth for the full year would remain 'dynamic and broad-based, albeit moderating on a normalising comparison basis.'
It however did not provide a quantitative guidance for the full year.
By 07:02 GMT, Pernod Ricard shares were down 1.1% at 177.95 euros.
RBC analysts said in a note the quarterly performance was 'good' but noted that 'US organic sales growth of 2% is somewhat concerning...it seems that the US market is slowing.'
Pernod Ricard's fiscal year started on 1 July.
For the first quarter ended 30 September, Pernod - which owns Martell cognac, Mumm champagne and Absolut vodka - reported sales of €3.31 billion ($3.23 billion), a like-for-like rise of 11%, which came above market expectations for a 9.3% sales rise.
In China alone, sales rose 9% in the first quarter thanks strong mid-Autumn festival sales. The Martell cognac brand recorded double-digit sales growth during the quarter despite COVID restrictions.
Sales in global travel retail rose 24% in the first quarter as it continued its recovery outside of China and was on track to deliver profit back to pre-COVID levels, the group said.
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