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Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is to continue adding new bottle sizes to its UK portfolio despite a first-quarter volumes drop partly blamed on the introduction of a 1.75-litre PET bottle.

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The bottler, which released its first-quarter results yesterday, saw UK volumes drop 9%, cancelling out a 3.5% increase in continental Europe. CCE said the decrease was down to bad weather and a transition to the new bottle size from a two-litre PET option.

But in a conference call with analysts yesterday (24 April), CCE's European head Hubert Patricot said more PET bottle sizes will be launched this quarter - a one-litre and a four-pack 1.5-litre case.

The new offerings are part of CCE's “long-term strategy to broaden our PET bottles repertoire in GB”, Patricot said, and will be supported by a marketing campaign connected to The Coca-Cola Co's sponsorship of this year's football World Cup in Brazil.

John Brock, CCE's chief executive, said the World Cup push, combined with the company's ongoing Share-a-Coke campaign, “give us the right kind of marketplace strategies that will enable us to have volume growth going forward”.

CCE said it has seen across its markets over the past few years a shift in consumer trends towards cans over large PET bottles.

“It's partially driven by the evolution of the household, where you find more one- or two-person households than large families," Patricot said.

In yesterday's first-quarter results, CCE posted a 1.1% increase in net sales to US$1.87bn as operating profits jumped by 65.8% to $184m.


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