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Constellation enjoys growth in North American wine sales

Constellation Brands, the world's largest premium wine company, on Thursday reported sales by its North American division rose 8 percent in the first quarter.

But the company's overall sales dropped 19 percent due primarily to selling its operations in Australia and the United Kingdom last January.

The Victor, N.Y., company plans to cut about 100 jobs, or 2.3 percent of its global workforce, over the next 12 months in a restructuring designed to save more than $10 million.

"We don't know what the impact will be on the California operations right now," spokeswoman Angela Blackwell said.

About 37 percent of the company's 4,300 employees are located in California, where it owns several North Coast wineries including Ravenswood, Clos Du Bois and Robert Mondavi Winery.

It reported $635.3 million in sales of wine, spirits and beer by its North American operations in the quarter ending May 31, up from $589.9 million during the same period a year ago.

Net income jumped to $74.5 million in the first quarter, up from $49.1 million last year.


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