French drinks group Pernod Ricard singled out an ecnouraging performance from its key travel retail division in unveiling what it called “very strong” Q3 and nine-month results today.

Travel retail sales grew by +33% year-on-year for the nine months, albeit from a modest base in the COVID-hit comparative period. The company said that increasing passenger traffic outside China had driven the improvement.

Groupwide sales for the quarter and the nine-month period rose +20% on an organic basis (reported +21%) and +18% (reported +25%) to €2,447 million and €8,407 million respectively.

The group turned in “very dynamic” performances in what it dubbed “must-win domestic markets” with the USA up +13%, enhanced by phasing; India maintaining strong +19% growth; and China ahead by +12% following a softer Chinese New Year impacted by COVID and a high comparison basis.

Excellent growth in Europe was eased by some deceleration in March, driven notably by the impact of the war in Ukraine. The Rest of World grouping saw very strong growth in Latin America, Africa-Middle East and Asia, notably the Republic of Korea and Japan

By category, Strategic International Brands – including Jameson, Martell, Chivas Regal, Absolut, Ballantine’s and The Glenlivet – turned in an “excellent” performance of +20% (Q3 +22%), driven by Irish whiskey Jameson.

Pernod Ricard Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Ricard stated, “Our Q3 was very strong and continues the broad-based performance we enjoyed in the first half, with all our regions and must-win markets showing very strong growth.

“The global environment remains volatile with an increasingly challenging and inflationary context. We expect a softer Q4 impacted by COVID disruptions in China, phasing normalisation in the US and conflict in Ukraine.

In high spirits: Led by Jameson, the Strategic International Brands portfolio performed strongly

“Overall we expect for FY22 a strong diversified sales momentum across the regions due to on-trade rebound, off-trade resilience and a continuing recovery in travel retail. We are increasing investments to fuel growth momentum. Accordingly we are providing full-year guidance for FY22 of an organic growth in profit from recurring operations of circa +17% with some operating margin expansion.”

Spurred by creative seasonal promotions, Jameson has continued to prosper in travel retail as well as local markets {Photo: Jameson Instagram}

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