The success continues for ABSOLUT VODKA and the other brands in the V&S Absolut Spirits business area. The business area is now experiencing one of its best quarterly growths. Sales volumes increased during the quarter with 14% to just below 30 million liters (3.3 million 9-liter cases). The operating profit for the business area increased with an impressive 30% to SEK 598 million, in spite of the lower US dollar.
"V&S Absolut Spirits is showing very healthy growth. We're on our way to one of our best years, thanks to an exceptionally strong third quarter with normalized stock levels in the US and good development both in the US and internationally," says Ketil Eriksen, President V&S Absolut Spirits.
Behind this development is the high pace of innovation for ABSOLUT VODKA in 2007. Three new products have been launched, ABSOLUT PEARS, ABSOLUT 100 (a premium vodka intended primarily for Duty Free and Travel Retail), and ABSOLUT NEW ORLEANS (a mango-flavored vodka with the subtle aroma of black pepper, which is available as a limited edition with profits going to the rebuilding of New Orleans). The latest member of the ABSOLUT family, ABSOLUT MANGO, was launched last week, and the global campaign "In an ABSOLUT world" was launched in April.
"The fast tempos in our product development, our new marketing campaign and the strengthening of our sales organization in the US have yielded results," continues Ketil Eriksen.
The strong rise in demand led to a new record being set at the bottling plant in Åhus in August. In that month, 1,044,000 9-liter cases were shipped from the plant, which is 27,000 9-liter cases more than the previous record, set in October 2006.
In the US, depletions, ie sales of ABSOLUT VODKA from distributor to retail increased with 4% percent in the first nine months of the year. V&S Absolut Spirits' acquisition of Cruzan Rum in 2006 has also contributed to the growth on the US market. Cruzan depletions increased with a full 24% compared with the previous year. The brand's ninth flavor, Cruzan Black Cherry, was launched in May of this year. Cruzan has also been launched in Spain this year.