Pernod Ricard playing catch-up in the US

on 25/05/11 at 9:27 am

Industry

Pernod Ricard chief executive Pierre Pringuet has spoken of his determination to capitalise on the rebounding US spirits market and make up ground on Diageo and Bacardi in the drinks world’s biggest market.

Speaking yesterday at a conference in New York, Pringuet (left) revealed that targeting women and the Hispanic community in the US are central to the company’s growth strategy.

He spoke of Pernod’s need to “grab additional market share; we want to grow faster than the market.”

Despite its position as the world’s second-biggest spirits company, Pernod Ricard lags behind both Diageo and Bacardi in the US. This clearly rankles with Paul Duffy, the company’s US head, who said the company has “a sense of leadership in how we think,” before adding: “But we are a challenger in terms of our position.”

Pringuet believes that increased sales can be achieved through product innovation, either through releasing new products or revamping the packaging of existing products to appeal to a wider audience, particularly in the white spirits categories such as vodka.

Despite recent economic problems in established markets such as the US and Europe, where unemployment, increasing competition and stuttering growth have hampered progress, Pernod Ricard now believes it is seeing a recovery in sales in the US on-trade, one of the most profitable markets in the world.

“The US is a mature marketplace, but [it is] very attractive,” said Duffy. “It’s the biggest contributor to profit pool in the world.

“There’s lots of competitive ground for us to make up.”

Pernod executives confirmed that they will focus their US efforts on the company’s top six-selling brands in the country: Absolut, Jameson, Kahlua, The Glenlivet, Malibu and Chivas Regal.

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