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US spirits sales lift Diageo's full-year profits

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July 31, 2013 04:24 AM EST | AP


LONDON — Drinks company Diageo PLC says rising spirits consumption in the U.S. helped its profit in the year to end-June to swell by 28 percent to 2.48 billion pounds ($3.79 billion).

Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker whiskey, Smirnoff vodka and Guinness stout, said Wednesday that sales rose 6.1 percent to 15.48 billion pounds from a year earlier.

Sales in North America, its biggest market, were up 5 percent. In emerging markets, there was double-digit growth, including an 18 percent rise in Latin America and 11 percent in Asia. Sales in Western Europe fell 5 percent, however, amid the ongoing economic malaise.

Chief executive Ivan Menezes says effective marketing has been a key driver in whisky sales – Diageo's biggest and most profitable category.