July 13, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
Uncorking Chablis wines: The fundamentals
Just when C&C Group's new management team appeared to have carved out a brighter horizon for the group's cider sales, it would appear that the company has been left staring at a false dawn.
After reporting last week that net sales rose by 3% for the first four months of the group's fiscal year, the firm said today that net sales had, in fact, fallen by 5%, compared to the same period last year. Cider sales slipped by 6% on a constant currency basis, despite C&C's assertion last week that sales for the division were up 3%.
The move washed away optimism last week that C&C has finally stopped the rot in its cider division, which includes Magners in the UK and Bulmers in Ireland. Sales have declined consistently for more than two years.
When questioned about the error, a spokesperson for the group told just-drinks that a "straightforward error in reporting lines" had been made. It was a pretty big error, too, judging by the size of the reversal.
Still, it is thought sales have picked up towards the end of the four-month period, due to good weather. Indeed, the spokesperson remained adamant that C&C will reach the top end of its operating profits guidance for the full-year.
Here's hoping the British summer holds out, then.
Elsewhere, SABMiller warned last week that it expects its volumes in Europe to remain flat this year. The brewer's European chief, Alan Clark, warned that trading is “still very tough” in the region.
That'll be another firm praying for sunshine, then.
Operators in Europe, meanwhile, appear to have another hurdle they need to clear, with the announcement that new EU president nation Sweden hosted a meeting of member state health ministers last week, to discuss the fight against alcohol-related harm in the region.
We'll be taking a closer look at the ramifications of this meeting later this week.
On the features front last week, we had a chat with the CEO of Drambuie, and we also considered the role the internet has to play for alcohol sales going forward.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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