Pernod Ricard has posted a 2% decline in global sales, with profits at its European arm slumping by 3%.

Sales at the drinks giant, whose brands include Absolut vodka and the Jacob’s Creek wine stable, dipped to €7.08bn for the year to June.

The decline came after the drinks giant hived off brands including Wild Turkey bourbon and the liqueur Tia Maria.

While profits from global operations rose by 4% to €1.8bn, its western European business – excluding France – “remained difficult”, the company said, as consumers shied away from its premium brands.

“Our performance over the 2009-10 financial year was a strong and sound one,” insisted chief executive Pierre Pringuet.

“Our priorities [for the next year] remain the development of our premium strategic brands, strong marketing investment and the reduction in group debt.”

The decline in European performance was partially offset by profits growth of 14% in developing markets in Asia. Martell cognac proved particularly popular in China.

Read more
Pernod Ricard restructures wine brands for global push (26 July 2010)
Volumes hit by Pernod’s premium pricing policy (27 February 2010)