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Liquor groups toast their cost-inflation airbag

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A bottle of Cointreau, the orange-flavoured triple sec liqueur, is displayed at the Carre Cointreau at the Cointreau distillery in Saint-Barthelemy-d'Anjou, near Angers, France, February 8, 2019.

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LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) - After pandemic lockdowns, bumper household savings will help fund a boozy holiday season, provided new variants don’t usher in fresh restrictions. Cognac maker Rémy Cointreau (RCOP.PA) on Friday said sales for the quarter to September were 352 million euros - a like-for-like rise of 24% compared to analysts' expectations of 21%. Finance boss Luca Marotta said the brandy maker is optimistic about Chinese New Year, too. On Thursday, pastis producer Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA) also beat analysts’ quarterly sales expectations with strong demand ahead of the festive season read more .

Pricy liquor, like the luxury cosmetics which helped L'Oréal (OREP.PA) boost sales by a stronger-than-expected 13% in the third quarter read more , is more protected from inflation too. Rising costs like freight are a relatively smaller proportion of expensive goods like aged whiskey. Unlike Unilever (ULVR.L), which has to agonise over how much cost inflation to pass onto consumers, premium alcohol companies can crack open a bottle. (By Dasha Afanasieva)

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Editing by George Hay and Karen Kwok

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