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Published:  23 July, 2008

French drinks giant Pernod Ricard has reported a first-quarter rise in like-for-like sales of 10.6% for its wine and spirits division, to E713 million. Despite this growth, overall sales were down 37.8% to E740 million, reflecting a withdrawal from non-core business', according to the company. Adverse currency impact' also hit the company, to the tune of E70 million. Pernod Ricard described the sales of its previously lacklustre brands (Martell Cognac and Chivas Regal Scotch) as buoyant', with first-quarter increases of 27% for Chivas and 26% for Martell. Jameson's, Jacob's Creek and Havana Club continued the growth shown in 2002. In Europe (excluding France) the group recorded 16.1% organic growth, although the French market remained sluggish', with sales dropping 1.4% organically. Growth in Asia-Pacific was an enormous 54.4%. This was mainly driven by successful Chinese New Year promotions. At the end of March, the SARS outbreak had no noticeable impact,' said the company. The company also said that sales in the US (+3.4%) had not suffered from any anti-French sentiment.