C&C Group said the Bulmers brand remained in "good health"

C&C Group said the Bulmers brand remained in "good health"

C&C Group plans to cut a further 50 jobs from its Bulmers cider operations in Ireland as sales continue to falter.

C&C Group intends to reduce its Bulmers workforce in Clonmel to 220 before the end of 2010, the Ireland-based firm said late yesterday (28 October). The move is part of a fresh restructuring progamme.

Although C&C's Magners cider volumes have returned to growth in the UK this year, Bulmers has continued to struggle in Ireland amid tough economic conditions.

"The combined impact of a dramatically weakening consumer environment and the continued migration of cider volumes from the on to off trade channel has adversely impacted our business in Ireland," said Bulmers' general manager, Paul O'Sullivan. "It is therefore an imperative that we reduce our fixed cost base in Clonmel."

He added that the cuts would put Bulmers "on a much stronger footing" for the future. The group said it was seeking voluntary redundancies "where possible".

Bulmers cider sales fell by 3.4% in volume and 4.4% in value for the six months to the end of August, compared to the same period of last year, C&C Group said in its half-year report earlier this month.

Net sales at C&C Group's Magners and Bulmers cider division fell by almost 9% for the period, to EUR144.3m (US$200m). The division's operating profits slipped by 8% to EUR47.9m.

However, the firm said that it had maintained operating margins at Bulmers in Ireland during the half-year. It added: "Investment levels remain competitive and the successful launch of Bulmer’s Berry in the period provided further stimulus for a brand that remains in good health."

In March and April 2009, C&C Group announced that it planned to cut 144 jobs from its Bulmers operations in Ireland.