Anheuser-Busch may look to repeal a price rise in California, according to an analyst. Bonnie Herzog of Citigroup Smith Barney said yesterday (24 January) that the brewer may roll back the October increases in California to gain share in the key market.

The brewer appears to be focused on gaining volume in California, Herzog noted, although she questioned how successful a repeal of the price increases would be with image-focused consumers.

"We learned last week from one of our large retailer contacts that Anheuser-Busch is pulling back its price increase in California that it implemented in October 2004," Herzog wrote. "If this does occur in a large market such as California, this pull-back is consistent with the deteriorating pricing environment that we have been predicting."

In a statement, AB said: "For years, we have managed our pricing on a market-by-market, brand-by-brand, and package-by-package basis, as opposed to a regional or state-wide basis."

In October last year, the brewer raised its prices in some areas of the US. A further round of increases is expected in the first quarter of this year.