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Constellation Sales Slip In Fiscal Year, Raft Of New Products Coming

April 5, 2012

Constellation Brands saw its North American sales slip 1% organically to $2.65 billion in its fiscal full year, completed in February, but the company says momentum picked up in the fourth quarter, with sales up 5% to $620 million. U.S. shipment volume fell 3.9% for the full year to 47 million nine-liter cases, but rebounded with 2.7% growth to 11.6 million cases in the fourth quarter. Volume growth of Constellation’s focus brands—including Black Box, Rex Goliath, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, Ruffino, Kim Crawford and Svedka—outpaced the full portfolio in both the fiscal year (+0.6%) and fourth quarter (+6.9%). Constellation’s Crown Imports joint venture with Grupo Modelo—buoyed by Modelo Especial and upstart Victoria—had a strong year, with mid-single digit depletion growth against a U.S. beer market declining by low single-digits, although operating income slid 5% on higher marketing spend.

Constellation president and CEO Rob Sands credited the group’s fourth quarter upswing to solid results from its focus brands, as well as increasing contributions from new brands Simply Naked, Primal Roots and The Dreaming Tree, which debuted in 2011. This year, Constellation will double its new product activity versus last year, aiming to introduce 50 new brands. Among those will be a new wine brand aimed toward Millennial consumers, Thorny Rose, and single-serve pouches of Arbor Mist frozen cocktails.

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