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PARIS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Remy Cointreau said on Thursday that cognac sales turned positive in the third quarter, driven by robust demand for premium qualities in the United States while shipments to China rose on the back of easier year-ago comparables.
The French spirits group, whose premium cognac suffers from a Chinese government crackdown on ostentatious spending, kept its targets of delivering organic growth in full year sales and current operating profit.
The maker of Remy Martin cognac, Cointreau liqueur and Mount Gay Rum said group sales reached 269.1 million euros ($311.73 million) in the three months to Dec 31, for an organic decline of 1 percent, compared with a fall of 5.5 percent in the second quarter.
Cognac sales, which account for more than half the company's revenue, rose 0.4 percent year-on-year in the quarter, a marked improvement from an 11.8 percent fall in the second quarter and a 15.3 percent decline in the first quarter.
$1 = 0.8633 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Stephen Coates