Off trade sales in the US have driven growth, aided by planning and strategy tool Catalyst.

Diageo credited the use of its bespoke marketing analytics tool, Catalyst, in boosting the effectiveness of its activity and helping drive an unexpected increase in sales.

The Guinness and Smirnoff owner reported a 1% rise in organic net sales in the six months to 30 December, compared with analysts’ expectations of a 4.6% drop.

A better than expected return from the US triggered the growth, where sales increased 12% in the period. Diageo’s US brands generate about 80% of sales from off licenses and supermarkets, unlike in Europe which continues to be hit by the closure of bars and restaurants. Sales slumped 13% in the period.

Marketing investment grew 10% in the US as the company says is looked to exploit “at-home consumption opportunities”, aided by Catalyst.

Catalyst was introduced in 2017 to provide Diageo’s marketers with instant data to help them make better strategic and planning decisions. It was built out last year and now combines the latest data about Covid-19, including government politics and macro-economic data, with insights and consumer behaviour information.

Overall, marketing spend fell 3% in territories outside the US, with money redeployed into direct-to-consumer ecommerce channels.

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes said: “Our proprietary tools and data-led insights are enabling us to invest smartly in effective marketing and innovation. We continue to strengthen brand equity, premiumise our portfolio and expand our digital capabilities.”

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