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Jameson sales up 13pc in first half as US revenues rise 24pc

SALES of Jameson grew sharply in the six months to the end of December, as demand for the spirit in the United States continued to surge.

According to Irish Distillers, Jameson sales rose 13pc during the first half of its fiscal year. The growth was driven mainly by the US, where revenue rose 24pc.

Jameson sold more than four million cases of its goods last year, and that is expected to hit five million by the end of next year.

Irish Distillers chief executive Anna Malmhake said the period was "another positive one" for the company but warned the ongoing issues in the industry would continue to hit business.

"Jameson is now in its 24th consecutive year of growth and is experiencing double-digit growth in 41 markets.

"The local economy remains a serious concern and it is important that the Government is strategic in how it approaches the alcohol sector.

"While we recognise the constraint the Government is under, any further penalty of the alcoholic beverage sector in terms of taxation will be counter-productive.

"At the same time the Government is to be applauded for initiatives such as The Gathering, which is a positive step for the drinks sector and for the hospitality sector as a whole," she said.

In Ireland, the company said the long-term shift from the on-trade to major off-trade outlets "continues to have a negative impact on all sectors of the drinks industry in Ireland".

The Irish figures came as the parent group Pernod Ricard revealed first-half sales reached €4.9bn, an underlying rise of 3pc, while underlying operating profit grew 1pc to €1.46bn.

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The French spirits maker stuck with a target of full-year profit growth this year, betting that robust Asian demand and strong growth in the US would offset a sales decline in France and Spain.

Pernod, the owner of Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, said yesterday it still expected underlying operating profit growth of close to 6pc in the year to June, slowing from 9pc in the previous year.

Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note they believed Pernod's guidance was "conservative".

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