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Sales of Guinness rise here for the first time in six years

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Globally, Guinness net sales declined 4pc driven by a weaker performance in Nigeria, Indonesia and Britain, due to difficult market conditions and price sensitivity.

Globally, Guinness net sales declined 4pc driven by a weaker performance in Nigeria, Indonesia and Britain, due to difficult market conditions and price sensitivity.

Guinness

Guinness

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Globally, Guinness net sales declined 4pc driven by a weaker performance in Nigeria, Indonesia and Britain, due to difficult market conditions and price sensitivity.

Sales of Guinness here rose for the first time in six years despite parent Diageo reporting lower than expected global sales for the six months to the end of December.

Diageo attributed the 1pc rise of Guinness sales in the final half of last year to strong advertising and industry-led campaigns.

But drinkers overseas haven't the same taste for it.

Globally, Guinness net sales declined 4pc driven by a weaker performance in Nigeria, Indonesia and Britain, due to difficult market conditions and price sensitivity.

But the brand grew in many African markets, with double digit growth seen in Kenya. And in Asia, expanded distribution and marketing activities drove strong double digit growth in Korea and Greater China.

David Smith, Diageo Ireland country director, said the growth was down to a number of successful advertising campaigns.

"Great campaigns and positive public sentiment to our corporate and consumer brands have supported us in delivering our beer, lager and spirit business here in Ireland," Mr Smith said.

"Our St James's Gate Brewery accounts for 35pc of global beer for Diageo and brews 1 billion pints per year of which 75pc is exported to over 130 markets worldwide."

Sales of Baileys also increased, rising 1.9pc, but, as with Guinness, sales declined internationally, dropping back by 5pc.

In Western Europe, net sales declined 4pc lapping successful launches in the prior period. However, in Britain, Baileys performed well and net sales were up 2pc.

In the spirits category in Ireland, Gordon's gin gained 4.52 share points to increase market share to 37.3pc, but overall spirit sales declined.

But it wasn't good news overall for parent company Diageo.

The maker of Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky as well as Guinness warned last month that US Thanksgiving sales were disappointing and it expected sales to be broadly flat in the region, where competition among vodka makers has sharpened as trendy drinkers moved to brown spirits such as bourbon.

Diageo has been plagued by volatility in emerging markets, from a crackdown on extravagant spending in China to an economic slowdown in Brazil.

Overall, Diageo said net sales in the six months to the end of December were £5.9bn, below analysts' average estimate of £6bn.

Diageo said it was not yet feeling the benefit of an improving economic picture in the United States, though it hoped to do so as lower oil prices meant more money to spend on extras such as alcohol.

The results were hurt by the strengthening of the British pound versus currencies such as the Venezuelan bolivar, Russian rouble and euro.

At current rates, Diageo estimates foreign exchange to hurt net sales for the full year, ending in June, by £120m and operating profit by £85m.

Diageo, which does not give financial forecasts, said it still expected to "deliver on its performance ambition," which includes the aims of "top-tier" net sales growth for its industry and "consistent" margin improvement.

(Additional reporting Reuters)

Irish Independent