PARIS, Jan 18 (Reuters) - French spirits group Remy Cointreau said on Friday that like-for-like sales growth slowed to 3.2 percent in the third quarter, as the late timing of the Chinese New Year and a high year-ago comparison basis weighed on its cognac sales. The Chinese New Year, a key moment for consuming and offering premium drinks, starts on Feb.16 this year, delaying its positive impact on sales to Remy Cointreau’s fourth quarter.
The company, which makes Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liquor, said that adjusted for this on-off effect, like-for-like sales growth would have been around 6 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31.
Remy Cointreau, which is trying to sell more of its higher-priced spirits to boost profitability, kept its goal for growth in current operating profit at constant exchange rates and scope for the full year ending March 31.
Group sales reached 317.7 million euros ($390 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, showing like-for-like growth of 3.2 percent, compared with a 7 percent rise in the first half.
Cognac sales, which account for more than half the company’s revenue, rose 5.5 percent year-on-year in the quarter. This followed a 15.4 percent rise in the first-half.
$1 = 0.8155 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Mathieu Rosemain