French spirits maker Rémy Cointreau has posted a smaller-than-expected drop in third-quarter sales, as steep shipments to China ahead of the Lunar New Year partly offset lower cognac consumption in the United States.
The maker of Rémy Martin cognac and Cointreau liquor confirmed its full-year outlook for strong organic sales growth, albeit with further normalisation of consumption trends in the fourth quarter after two "outstanding years".
This echoed comments from the world's largest spirits maker Diageo, who on Thursday signalled that robust demand for its drinks as people made pricey cocktails at home during COVID-19 lockdowns may be slowing in some parts of the world, particularly North America.
Rémy Cointreau reported a revenue of €437.6 million for the three months through December, an organic drop of 6% from a year earlier but slightly ahead of analysts' €433.3 million forecast.
Sales at its Rémy Martin cognac division fell 11% in the quarter, dragged by a U.S. slowdown even as the group's Chinese market continued to bounce back.
'Robust Sales Growth'
"Despite disruptions triggered by unprecedented levels of Covid, the group successfully generated robust sales growth ahead of the Chinese New Year and in anticipation of a full recovery in business," it said.
China, which accounts for 25% of the group's sales, earlier in January lifted its restrictive zero-COVID policy that included frequent testing, curbs on movement and mass lockdowns that heavily damaged the world's second-biggest economy.