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Spirits maker Diageo posts 16% rise in first-half sales

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Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker whisky and Tanqueray gin, on Thursday said that first-half sales rose nearly 16% as more consumers bought high-end spirits and bars increased orders as they reopened after coronavirus lockdowns.

Operating profit increased by 22.5% to 2.7 billion pounds ($3.62 billion) in the six months to Dec. 31, with its operating margin up by 190 basis points, Diageo said.

Net sales rose 15.8% to 8 billion pounds.

The world’s largest spirits maker has benefited from shoppers stocking up on spirits and beers at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, often trading up to more expensive types of alcohol.

Then as lockdowns have eased, particularly Europe and North America, bars have had to restock, buying more than the previous year.

Rival Remy Cointreau this week said it is confident demand for its premium cognac in China, the United States and Europe will underpin profit growth this year after the French spirits group beat quarterly sales forecasts.

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