FILE PHOTO: A man pours Remy Cointreau into a glass at the Remy Martin factory in Cognac, France, November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo
PARIS (Reuters) – French spirits maker Remy Cointreau (RCOP.PA) said falling tourism in Hong Kong hurt cognac sales in its second quarter, as a revenue decline deepened across the group.
Several months of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong have hurt groups that are highly dependent on tourist flows, such as hotelier Accor (ACCP.PA), as well as luxury goods retailers, with many brands forced to temporarily shut up shop.
At Remy Cointreau – which relies on its Remy Martin cognac label for the bulk of sales, and is also behind brands like Mount Gay rum – the turmoil dragged on revenues, which it had previously flagged would improve in the second quarter.
Instead, group sales were down 4% on a comparable basis in the July to September period, after a 3% sales fall in the previous three months.
Cognac sales had “suffered from the fall in tourism in Hong Kong and from slower than anticipated stock replenishment by retailers in the United States”, the company said.
On a reported basis, second-quarter sales fell 1.3% to 300.7 million euros ($334.5 million). The end of distribution contracts in markets like the Czech Republic, which had been expected, also contributed to the decline.
Spirit makers benefited from some good news in recent weeks as cognac, champagne and blended whiskies were excluded from a list of goods set to be slapped with 25% U.S. tariffs as of Friday, as part of a trade row over EU aircraft subsidies.
But some wines and types of whisky will still be affected. France’s Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA) said on Thursday it may raise prices on spirits like its Glenlivet Scotch whisky as a result.
Pernod, as well as other consumer goods companies including Nestle (NESN.S), have also pointed to slower progress in key Asian countries including China, which is also an important market for Remy Cointreau.
Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Mark Potter