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Beam Sales Fall 4% In Third Quarter, But Key Whisk(e)y Brands Are On The Rise

October 31, 2013

Beam Inc.’s net sales fell by 4% in the third quarter, as distributors’ inventory reductions in the U.S. and Australia combined with challenging conditions in India to thwart the company’s progress. However, Beam’s sales remain on a positive track in 2013, up 3% for the first nine months of the year (1% on a comparable basis), due largely to solid growth from its leading whisk(e)y brands.

For the first three quarters of the year, Jim Beam’s global net sales rose by 3%, while Maker’s Mark was up 17% and Canadian Club climbed by 10%. Beam’s small-batch Bourbon range is also enjoying double-digit growth. One key whisky brand not faring well is Teacher’s. The Scotch brand, one of India’s category leaders, has declined amid the Indian market’s tough trading environment.

Beyond whisk(e)y, Pinnacle (+3%) and Sauza (+2%) each achieved modest sales growth in the first nine months of 2013, while Courvoisier (-7%) and the Skinnygirl line (-29%) struggled.

Beam is projecting solid growth in the fourth quarter. “We continue to expect a strong fourth quarter, based on an assumption of continued favorable demand trends in our core U.S. market, a gradual market recovery in Australia, and the benefit of timing in emerging markets, coupled with favorable comparisons in India,” Beam CEO Matt Shattock said in a statement. “We’re targeting full-year comparable sales growth that outperforms our global market, with operating income growth faster than sales, and EPS growth even faster.”

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