Global drinks group Pernod Ricard has today (16 February) posted stronger-than-expected 2023 H1 financial results, revealing 36% sales growth in global travel retail.
The year-on-year climb takes its sales in the channel to circa 80% of what they were in 2019.
Continued recovery outside of China means the business is ‘on track’ to deliver global travel retail profit back to pre-Covid levels, according to an investor presentation.
The recovery stems from ‘very strong brand activation’ in the channel, alongside ‘solid’ pricing.
Pernod Ricard also notes that recovery in GTR is driving ‘very strong’ premium Scotch development.
Total global sales across the business reached €7,116 million (US$7,620 million), representing 12% organic growth. Profits from recurring operations hit €2,423m ($2,595).
Globally, the Americas saw 7% growth, Asia-RoW soared by 18%, while Europe saw 6% gains, with a ‘very strong’ performance noted here for travel retail.
All spirits segments post ‘double-digit’ gains
The ‘big six’ spirits segments – Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Cognac and Brandy, vodka, gin, and Seagram’s whiskies – are delivering around 90% of the total H1 growth.
Scotch whisky posted the biggest sales gains, soaring by 23% year on year.
The Specialty Brands’ portfolio – the likes of Lillet (+43%), Aberlour (+15%), and Redbreast (+24%) – saw ‘fast growing’ demand, climbing 14% year-on-year. Since FY19, this segment has seen its share of sales double.
Brands called out for their travel retail performance include Jameson with ‘double-digit’ growth, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, Ballantine’s and The Glenlivet. Absolut Vodka also saw a ‘solid rebound across all regions’ in the channel.
However, Martell Cognac was impacted by Covid restrictions in Hainan.
Outlook: ‘Reinforced confidence’
Despite the ‘persistently volatile context’, Pernod Ricard said it has ‘reinforced confidence’ for a strong full-year performance, citing broad-based growth, investment in capital expenditure, and positive currency effects.
“Our first half performance was very strong, marked by broad-based and diversified growth across all regions and categories,” said Chairman and CEO, Alexandre Ricard.
“In addition, particularly strong pricing dynamic illustrates the attractiveness of our portfolio of premium brands and enabled us to sustain margins in an inflationary context.
“We will continue to invest behind our brands, our group-wide transformation and S&R strategy, deliver operational efficiencies and prepare for exciting future growth opportunities.
“I expect this dynamic growth to continue through FY23 albeit in a normalising environment, demonstrating the strength of our strategy and the agility, dedication and exceptional engagement of our teams around the world.”
Last summer, Liya Zhang, Vice-President of Marketing, Pernod Ricard GTR, said consumer insights are ‘at the heart’ of TR recovery.
Recent activity in the channel includes opening The Malt Gallery at Delhi Airport, and launching a range of ultra-premium Speyside single malts from ‘hidden’ distilleries.