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Pernod Ricard rises from pre-recession slump

While Alexandre Ricard prepares to take over as CEO in 2015, Pernod Ricard is celebrating its best growth since the recession began four years ago.

Pernod Ricard's Absolut art campaign
Pernod Ricard’s Absolut vodka remains the group’s largest brand by volume

The group, whose brands include Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey, saw a sales increase of 8% during 2011/12, the majority of which has stemmed from emerging markets.

Full-year sales totalled €8.2million, driven mostly by the Asia/Rest of World region (+15%), primarily China, India, Vietnam, Taiwan and travel retail, although growth was also strong in Africa and the Middle East.

Business in Western Europe continued to struggle under the Eurozone crisis thanks to tough trading conditions in Greece, Spain, Italy and the UK, although Eastern Europe bucked the trend with a remarkable sales growth of 16%.

However a decrease in spirits consumption in France following an excise duty hike in January 2012 led to a sales decline of -1%, largely impacting Pernod’s aniseed category including sales of Ricard pastis which fell -3%.

Brand Champions

Absolut Vodka continued to lead Pernod’s brands by volume with an increase to 11.4million nine-litre cases sold during the period, although when it came to sales growth, Pernod’s whisky and Cognac brands trumped.

Martell led the pack with a 25% sales growth, followed closely by Royal Salute (23%), The Glenlivet (19%), Jameson (18%) and Chivas (11%).

Pierre Pringuet, CEO of Pernod who will in 2015 relinquish his position to Alexandre Ricard, said the group’s strategy to invest in its brands alongside expansion had paid off.

“Throughout the 2011/12 financial year, the Group recognised its best growth rates since the 2008 crisis, be it for the top or bottom line,” he said. “This is the result of a clear and constant strategy: substantial investments in our brands, innovation, premiumisation and geographic expansion.

“This performance also derives from a unique, decentralised organisation founded upon the motivation and the accountability of men and women, that Patrick Ricard bestowed upon us.”

He added that Pernod was confident in the group’s ability to continue its growth curve during 2012/13 as well.

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