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Sales drop at Vranken-Pommery Monopole

Poor fourth quarter Champagne volumes have led Vranken-Pommery Monopole to report a decline in full-year sales for the 12 months to the end of December 2011.

The company said net sales for the year dropped by 6.8% to €339.6 million.

However, the winemaker has brushed off concerns over the effect a new economic downturn could have on the sector and said that excluding a one-off sales gain in 2010 due to “inter-Champagne transactions”, sales for the year fell by just 0.7%.

The group attributed the decline to weak Champagne sales in the final three months of the year.

Over the course of 2011, Champagne sales fell by 1.8% year-on-year to €281.7m, despite gains in the first nine months.

Seeking to explain the decline, the group said it decided to restrict shipments to distributors in order to maintain “optimum” distributor stock levels going into 2012.

In a statement the company said the move would “guarantee sustained volume sales in the future”.

The group’s still wines division enjoyed greater success, with net sales rising in line with expectations by 4.5% to €57.9m.

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