Pernod Ricard sales continue to fall ahead of revived lockdowns

Sales of drinks giant Pernod Ricard’s craft gin and wine bounced back in the first three months of the fiscal year, but its CEO has warned there is more trouble ahead as Europe struggles to cope with a second wave of Covid-19.

Pernod Ricard, which owns Campo Viejo wine and Jameson whiskey, posted first-quarter sales (to 30 September) of €2,236 million, down by 10% year-on-year and 6% in organically.

The company’s wine brands showed “resilience” in late summer, with double-digit growth for Campo Viejo and Brancott Estate. “Speciality” brands such as the recently acquired Monkey 47 gin label also performed well, with sales growth of 30% across the portfolio.

This season’s figures are a marked improvement on the final quarter of the previous financial year, when the vast majority of on-trade venues worldwide were closed and alcohol bans were imposed in countries like South Africa.

Chief executive Alexandre Ricard said that the business “recovered significantly” thanks to the partial reopening of bars and restaurants as lockdowns were eased as well as “the strong resilience of our brands in the Off-trade”.

However, lockdowns are on the horizon once again. France and the UK have both imposed curfews on the operating hours of hospitality venues to help enforce social distancing, while Wales has gone into a two-week lockdown once again to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.

“We expect a second quarter that will be heavily impacted by the COVID crisis. There is a second wave of infections in Europe and new restrictions in France, even lockdowns in Ireland, Britain,” Alexandre Ricard told Reuters.

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