Guinness-maker Diageo’s sales exceed estimates on strong US demand

Reopening of North American bars boosts demand for tequila and whisky

Guinness-maker Diageo reported on Thursday a better-than-expected rise in full-year organic net sales growth as North American bars and restaurants reopened, helping to boost demand for its tequila brands and Johnnie Walker whisky.

By region North America grew the strongest boosted by consumers trading up to more premium spirits such as tequila, liqueurs and higher-end bottles of Johnnie Walker scotch.

Organic net sales rose 16 per cent for the year ending June 30th, beating the 13.7 per cent rise analysts had expected, according to company-supplied estimates.

Diageo, whose shares slipped 0.8 per cent in early trade, said it was raising its annual dividend by 5 per cent to 44.59 pence per share.


The company said rising North American demand came despite its move to raise prices on its Casamigos tequila brand and Baileys liqueur, which was driven by the trend for home baking during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The company said that, with 85 per cent of restaurants and bars in North America now open, it saw higher levels of restocking and replenishment, boosting organic net sales by 20 per cent in the region.

In the European region, Turkey and northern Europe were the strongest performers helped by strong demand for scotch whiskies in shops.

Sales in Africa and Asia also rose by double-digit percentages, mainly due to easier comparisons to last year.

The London-listed company said it expected organic net sales momentum to continue into fiscal 2022, but with volatility in the short term.

Lavanya Chandrashekhar, who was promoted to chief financial officer in July, told reporters volatility was coming from lockdowns in markets such as India, South Africa and Indonesia, where there has been a rise in Covid-19 cases in recent months.

She said a ban on alcohol sales during lockdowns in South Africa had an impact, while retail sales to travellers had fallen as air and other global travel was dented. – Reuters