The R?my Cointreau group has reported a 7.5% decline in sales turnover to E.138.6m for the first three months of its 2008/09 financial year, but the company points out that the period traditionally represents less
than 20% of its annual sales and the profit impact is 'very limited'.
Looking at each product sector in turn, R?my said that Cognac turnover declined by 4.5%, although growth was sustained in China as the impact of destocking impacted the US market. It added that Global Travel Retail (GTR) shipments were affected by poor trading conditions but added that the seasonality of this year in respect of GTR and South East Asia is more weighted towards the second quarter.
In Liqueurs & Spirits the company noted a slight recovery by Cointreau and St R?my in the US. In Europe, the division saw a decline in sales during the quarter, notably by Cointreau in Spain and Metaxa in Greece. Passoa and St R?my continued to grow.
For Champagne, the quarter traditionally represents the smallest period for shipments in the year and R?my says that the decline in turnover reflects the difficult worldwide trading conditions. France and GTR account for the majority of this, accentuated by the planned reduction in non-branded Champagne shipments to the UK.
Meanwhile, the growth in 'Partner Brands' was driven by local markets in Belgium and the Czech Republic and for Scotch whiskies in the US.
The company said that it is maintaining its premium strategy for the long-term, with a focus investment on developing its major brands this year and remains confident that the effectiveness of its new distribution arrangements will enable it to withstand the difficult economic environment affecting some of its markets this year.