Sales of French bottled water fell 9.6% in value and by 8.7% in volume in the first eight months of the year on the same period in 2003, figures from research group IRI France show.

Some producers' sales for July and August alone showed a dip of around 20% on the same months last year.

The final quarter of the year is unlikely to reverse the trend for the year to date with retailers still holding stocks from the summer and not posting in new orders.

However, the impact of last year's hot summer months aside, the French bottled water market is more or less stable and even shows growth on 2002 with an increase of 3.2% in value and 1.9% in volume.