European sales fall at Constellation

08 January, 2009

Constellation Brands has revealed an 11% downturn in its branded wine sales in Europe in the three months to Nov 30.

The news comes after this week’s announcement that UK and European sales operations are being combined, under the leadership of John Mills.

In a statement released by Constellation’s global head office in New York, the wine giant admitted that its policy of demanding higher prices, and reducing SKUs, in its key markets had affected its volumes, though it had increased its margins.

“We are pleased with our performance especially given the challenging economic conditions that evolved over the course of the year,” said Rob Sands, Constellation Brands president and chief executive. “We have significantly improved margins, grown free cash flow, monetized assets and rapidly reduced debt.”

The company is best known in the UK for brands such as Hardys, Banrock Station, Stowells and Nobilo.

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