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Brown-Forman’s U.S. Sales Rise 4% In Fiscal Year To Date

March 7, 2017

Brown-Forman continues to show solid organic growth in the U.S. market, with underlying sales up 4% in the nine months through January, although divestitures and foreign exchange issues ate into the company’s results on a reported basis. For the nine-month period, the group’s net sales declined 3% on a reported basis but rose 3% organically, to roughly $2.3 billion. Operating income for the period slipped 4% (+5% on an underlying basis) to $778 million.

Progress was driven primarily by Jack Daniel’s (+3% organic growth), with its Tennessee Honey offshoot posting a net sales gain of 3% (+1% reported) and the brand’s Tennessee Fire label growing double-digits.

Brown-Forman’s super- and ultra-premium whiskey portfolio also showed marked gains year-to-date, with Woodford Reserve (+20% on an underlying basis), Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, Old Forester, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel and Gentleman Jack expressions tracking solid gains. That growth comes as the company opts to increase pricing on select Bourbon brands, including Old Forester and Woodford Reserve.

The group’s Tequila stable enjoyed a similarly strong performance, with el Jimador growing underlying net sales 7% year-to-date, driven by strong demand in the U.S. Portfoliomate Herradura grew at an even faster pace, with sales rising 18% organically, bolstered by strong traction in both the U.S. and Mexico. Brown-Forman’s Finlandia vodka brand continued to struggle, however, with underlying net sales down 1% (-10% reported) year-to-date. –Christina Jelski

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