French spirits maker Pernod Ricard said it was confident sales growth would remain dynamic through its 2023 fiscal year after it delivered a forecast-beating 11% sales growth in the first quarter helped by price increases in the United States, its top market.
Pernod, the world's second-biggest spirits group behind Diageo, said the strong start to the year also reflected strong demand in China and in India and a continued rebound in global travel retail.
"“I am hugely encouraged by our start to the year," commented chairman and chief executive Alexandre Ricard. "Our performance continues to be broad-based with growth across many markets and diversified across our portfolio with all our spirit segments in double digit growth."
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'.
Pernod Ricard's fiscal year started on July 1.
For the first quarter ended September 30, drinks group Pernod - which owns Martell cognac, Mumm champagne and Absolut vodka - reported sales of €3.308 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 in China 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.
'Unique Competitive Advantages'
"Within a context which remains challenging and volatile, as for every business, we continue to actively invest to support our unique competitive advantages and fuel our future growth," Ricard added.
We expect this dynamic growth to continue through FY23, demonstrating the strength of our strategy and the dedication and full engagement of our teams around the world”.