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Pernod Ricard’s U.S. Sales Increase 4% In Fiscal First Half

February 13, 2020

Pernod Ricard saw global sales rise 2.7% to €5.5 billion ($6B) on an organic basis in its fiscal first half through December, as profit from recurring operations registered €1.8 billion ($1.95b) on an increase of 4.3%. In the U.S., Pernod’s sales advanced by 4% in the first half, as growth in the whiskey category offset the ongoing decline of Absolut.

Pernod’s largest brand in the U.S. is now Jameson Irish whiskey, which overtook Absolut in 2019, growing by an estimated 6.5% to 3.7 million cases during the calendar year, according to Impact Databank. Moving forward, Pernod says it plans to continue fueling Jameson’s growth with its new Cold Brew extension, as well as by driving gains “in key markets like Texas and Florida and expansion towards new occasions with an increased focus on summer.”

In Scotch whisky, The Glenlivet has been faring well, with offerings like Founder’s Reserve and the recently launched 14-year-old helping to drive control state growth up 3% in calendar 2019. Pernod plans to raise pricing on the single malt label this month. Recently acquired Jefferson’s Bourbon (+12% in control states) is also contributing, and Pernod says it will be one of its U.S. priorities looking ahead. Elsewhere in the portfolio, Martell Cognac (+7%), Avión (+13%), Altos (+19%), Malibu (+7%), and Kahlúa (+1) were all on the rise in control states last year, while Absolut (-4%) struggled despite a solid launch for its latest innovation, Absolut Juice. Impact Databank estimates Absolut to have slipped 2.5% to 3.5 million cases in the U.S. in 2019.

Overall, Pernod is expecting to continue to see mid-single-digit growth in the U.S. through the end of this fiscal year as well as in fiscal 2021, with smaller labels like Monkey 47, Lillet, Del Maguey, Malfy, and Smooth Ambler making an increasing contribution. Globally, however, chairman and CEO Alex Ricard said the company is bracing for a “severe impact” from the coronavirus in Asia on overall profits, which are now projected to range in the 2%-4% band for the full fiscal year ending in June.—Daniel Marsteller

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