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UK: AG Barr sees YTD sales edge up

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AG Barr has reported a moderate rise in its fiscal year-to-date sales and warned that the UK soft drinks market will remain “highly competitive” over the Christmas period.

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The Scotland-based company, which is set to merge with rivals Britvic early next year, said today (10 December) that, in the ten months to 1 December, sales increased by 6.5% year-on-year. This compares to a 4.6% rise in the same ten-month period last year. 

Sales for the 18-week period between the end of its first half and 1 December were up by 9% year-on-year, while volumes saw a 6.6% lift, the Irn-Bru maker said in an interim management statement. In September, Barr reported a drop in H1 profits, despite a 4.9% rise in sales.

“Our core brands have performed well in what has continued to be a competitive but robust soft drinks market,” AG Barr said today. 

Margins have performed “in line with expectations”, it said, adding that its balance sheet remains “strong”. 

Meanwhile, construction of a new manufacturing and logistics plant at Milton Keynes is well underway, with the fit out expected to start from February. 

Looking ahead, Barr said it anticipated the Christmas market to be highly competitive, but added: “Our sales execution activities are well developed and we remain confident of delivering our plans for the full year.”  

On the Britvic merger, the company said it expects a response from the UK's Office of Fair Trading by “mid-January”. In filings last week, the companies revealed they will hold separate shareholder votes on the deal on 8 January


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