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Pernod Ricard celebrates strong UK half-year performance

Published:  12 February, 2015

Pernod Ricard's UK chief says the market is now in "full recovery" as its brands, in particular those at the top end of the scale, outperform the market.

Denis O'Flynn Denis O'Flynn says the UK recovery is in full swingIts spirits and Champagnes put in strong performances across the UK on and off-trade.

The company today released its half-year sales results, which saw global net profits grow 1% to €4.62 billion in the six months to the end of December 2014, with whiskies and Champagne putting in the strongest performance and triggering growth in Asia and rest of world.

Denis O'Flynn, the firm's UK managing director, painted a positive picture of what's happening in this market. "The UK is now in full recovery - people are back out there. We're seeing that right across the sector."

Overall the UK off-trade grew by around 3% value in spirits and +6% value for branded spirits. Pernod Ricard's spirits portfolio grew by 13% with its premium plus brands growing at 15% in the half-year period versus the category at +9%.

The on-trade "was a lot more challenging for the industry" overall, said O'Flynn, with sales growth flat. However, once again Pernod Ricard's portfolio grew ahead of the market at + 5%, and its premium range up 8% by value.

"We have grown 11 out of 12 of our top-performing spirits brands," said O'Flynn. "People going out are treating themselves - that's coming through a lot more."

Pernod Ricard

He singled out Champagne - the company owns the Perrier-Jouët and GH Mumm ranges - as performing well, alongside flagship wine brands Campo Viejo and Brancott Estate.

The company is now seeing the fruits of its campaign on premiumisation, which it has been working on for the past three to four years. "It's nice to see a strategy working," said O'Flynn.

When last speaking to in November, O'Flynn hinted at innovations coming down the track in the Spanish and Australian wine categories, as well as changes to pack sizes. This time around he said: "NPD continues to be a key pillar for us - and you will hear more on that in the next few months."

Overall UK figures showed a 7% increase by value, with continuing strong performance of its top 14 products - in particular Absolut vodka. It said wine performance was "improving" thanks to flagship Spanish brand Campo Viejo, but that Jacob's Creek is undergoing "difficulties".

In terms of market share gains Absolut was up 17% versus the overall vodka category increasing just 4%, while Perrier-Jouët enjoyed a gain of 33% compared to 0% for Champagne as a whole.