Diageo grew net sales by 2% in Britain, with growth in retail more than offsetting declines due to restrictions and closures of pubs and bars, in Q2 2020.

Spirits grew by 15% in the UK, driven by a strong market and market share gains across all categories in the off-trade.

Beer declined in the on-trade, though gained share when restrictions were eased.

The drinks giant’s European organic net sales declined by 10% overall.

Globally, Diageo reported net sales down 4.5% to £6.9bn. Reported operating profit declined 8.3% to £2.2bn, driven by unfavourable exchange and a decline in organic operating profit.

The group supported the recovery of the hospitality sector through ‘Raising the Bar,’ its $100m global two-year programme, which has already reached around 30,000 outlets in seven countries

Ivan Menezes, CEO, said: “We delivered a strong performance in a challenging operating environment, returning to top line organic sales growth during the half. We rapidly pivoted to the channels and occasions most relevant to consumers and invested behind new opportunities. This more than offset the impact of on-trade restrictions and the decline in Travel Retail.

“I am proud of the creativity and adaptability of our people and their exemplary commitment to supporting our customers and communities. Our $100 million global commitment to support the recovery of the hospitality sector has already reached around 30,000 outlets in seven countries. We expect ongoing volatility and disruption in the second half of the year, particularly in the on-trade channel, which will make performance more challenging. The medium and long-term growth drivers and opportunities for our business remain intact and I am confident in our strategy, the resilience of our business and Diageo’s ability to emerge stronger.”