Remy Cointreau eyes Q2 acceleration after Q1 sales decline

PARIS, July 18 (Reuters) - French spirits group Remy Cointreau said sales had declined 3% in the first quarter, reflecting the impact of well-flagged price increases and the termination of partner brand contracts in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the United States.

Nevertheless, the maker of Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liquor expected sales growth to accelerate from the second quarter, and the company kept its full-year outlook.

Sales for the first quarter that ended in June reached 223.2 million euros ($250.77 million), representing a like-for-like decline of 3% from last year, which compared with analysts’ expectations for a 2.5% decline.

This also compared to 7% like-for-like growth achieved in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Remy said last month that its medium-term goal was to gradually drive current operating margin upwards.

It reiterated on Thursday that its 2019-2020 financial year “would unfold within the framework of the group’s medium-term objectives”.

Earlier this month, the company announced that Chief Executive Valerie Chapoulaud-Floquet, the architect of its push towards higher-priced spirits to drive profit margins, would step down by the end of 2019 for personal reasons.

$1 = 0.8901 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta