Champagne drinkers in the US and Asia have shown they are willing to pay more for Pernod Ricard's Perrier-Jouet label, providing a rare bright spot in a tough last few months for the French drinks giant.
Perrier-Jouet sales rose by 9% in value terms for the six months to the end of December, even though Pernod Ricard did not physically sell any more bottles than in the same period of the previous year.
Consumer demand in Japan, the Americas and also China helped the firm to buck a general decline in sales across the Champagne sector for much of 2013.
But, the results were bitter-sweet. Pernod’s Mumm brand continued to struggle for momentum, with value sales down by 1% and volumes down by 2% over the six-month accounting period – albeit that partly reflects a company strategy to nudge Mumm up the price ladder.
As a group, Pernod Ricard reported net sales down by 7% for the half-year, to €4.57bn. Net profits fell by 2% versus the same period of the previous year, to €839m.
China has been a key growth enging for the Martell Cognac maker in recent years, but – like other drinks firms – it is struggling with the government’s clampdown on gift-giving by officials.
‘We remain confident in the medium and long-term potential of China but we anticipate difficulties to persist for the full financial year,’ said chief executive Pierre Pringuet.
Written by Chris Mercer