PARIS, July 20 (Reuters) - French spirits group Remy Cointreau said sales growth accelerated in the first quarter, beating expectations, driven by a rebound in demand for premium cognac in China.
The maker of Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liquor, which is accelerating a drive to sell higher-priced spirits to boost profit margins, kept its goal to grow current operating profit on a comparable basis in the current financial year.
Group sales reached 240.2 million euros ($276.5 million) in the three months to June 30, up 8 percent on a like-for-like basis. It also marked a rise from 0.9 percent growth in the fourth quarter, and beat analysts' forecasts for 4.7 percent growth.
Cognac sales alone jumped 18.7 percent in the first quarter, up from 6.2 percent growth in the fourth quarter and also above analysts' expectations of 11.7 percent growth.
($1 = 0.8687 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)