July 6, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
U.S. Drinks Conference 2009, Tues./Wed., Oct. 13 and 14 at the Helmsley Park Hotel, New York.
In these grim times, news stories of job losses in our industry are coming round on a weekly basis, at least. But last week's announcement that Diageo is to cut its workforce in Scotland by over 10% is alarming for other reasons.
About two months ago, I was talking to one of my senior sources within Diageo, and took him to task about the company's lack of official announcements when it came to workforce reductions. Over the last few months, news has been trickling out of Diageo HQ regarding job cuts in Africa, Ireland and the UK. Why, I asked my source, was the company not being forward in coming forward on the matter?
"Statements about job cuts suggest a company in trouble," he said. "We're not in trouble." A fair point, in February, when the company posted increases in both sales and profits for the first half of its fiscal year.
But now, in July, are things less rosy for the drinks giant? In May, Diageo said that sales were flat on an organic basis for the first nine months of its fiscal year, yet maintained that it was on course for operating profit growth for the full-year.
It will be interesting to see the firm's state of play for its full-year, which ended last week. Announcements of job cuts suggest that all is not well. And if Diageo is struggling, what does that say for the rest of our industry?
Finally, the issue of minimum pricing for alcohol in the UK reared its head once again last week at a Westminster forum. We're getting mixed messages on this, with some in the industry backing the calls, while just as many remain staunchly in the 'no' camp. We'd love to know your thoughts on the matter.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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This month's briefing reviews the South African wine industry. Based on a trip Olly took to the country, the briefing takes in interviews with some key players and covers the history, winegrowing areas, an extensive SWOT analysis of the industry, a profile of Wines of South Africa, plus a look ahead to the country's next great sporting event, the FIFA World Cup 2010 and how football fever will hopefully provide a substantial boost to the wine industry.
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