Jameson holding up as Pernod Ricard suffers Covid sales impact

Drinks giant anticipates a return to overall sales growth next year
Jameson holding up as Pernod Ricard suffers Covid sales impact

Jameson Irish Whiskey continues to be a beacon of hope in a challenging environment for French drinks giant Pernod Ricard

Global sales of Jameson Irish Whiskey have generally held up despite the Covid pandemic impacting the performance of parent group Pernod Ricard.

The French spirits giant said group sales fell in the first quarter of its new financial year. 

While it expects performance to be “strongly impacted” by Covid in its second quarter – the three months to the end of December – Pernod Ricard anticipates a return to overall sales growth in the second half of the year. 

For the year to the end of next June, the group expects “continued resilience in an uncertain and disrupted environment”.

Pernod Ricard generated sales of €2.23bn for the three months to the end of September, a 10% decline on the same period last year. Organic sales were down by 6%.

Pernod said its strategic international brands suffered a 10% sales fall in its latest quarter, with significant declines suffered by the likes of Martell cognac, and its Scotch whisky labels Chivas and Ballantine’s. This was mainly due to the loss of travel retail, such as airport shops.

However, it said it saw continued strong growth for Malibu rum and The Glenlivet whisky and “resilience” on behalf of Jameson.

“Our first quarter is encouraging. Sales were still in decline, but the business has recovered significantly versus the fourth quarter of 2020, thanks to the partial reopening of the on-trade and the strong resilience of our brands in the off-trade,” said group chairman and chief executive Alexandre Ricard.

"We will continue to implement our strategy, in particular accelerating our digital transformation. We will tightly manage costs while maintaining the agility to reinvest to adjust to market opportunities," he said.

Pernod said off-trade sales have remained “very resilient”, particularly in the US and Europe. It has also seen a good start to its new financial year in the US and China.

Last month, Pernod Ricard’s Irish subsidiary Irish Distillers said it was still confident of Jameson’s growth prospects despite a 1% fall in sales for the year to the end of June.

In Pernod’s last full financial year Jameson recorded sales growth in key markets such as Ireland, the UK, Germany, Australia, Russia and South Africa as well as in the important emerging markets of Nigeria, China, India and Japan.

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