• Sales in six months to end of March up 18.5% to GBP719.3m (US$894.3m)
  • UK top-line up 19.3%, with ‘out-of-home’ back “at 2019 levels”
  • “Significant pricing activity” implemented across markets, full benefits expected in H2

Britvic has capitalised on the return of UK consumers to pre-pandemic habits by posting a healthy lift in sales during its fiscal first half.

The UK-based company, which handles PepsiCo’s beverage brands in the country, has reported an 18.5% top-line rise from the six months to the end of March. Sales in the on-premise led the way, climbing 59% on the corresponding period last year, while the ‘at-home’ channel held firm, increasing sales by 4.4%.

Compared to the same six-month period in 2019-20, the half-year was up by almost 14%.

On a geographical basis, the group’s UK recovery was again led by on-premise gains, with the top-line “significantly” ahead of both H1 fiscal-2021 and the comparable period to the end of March 2020, when the pandemic was yet to fully emerge. The group noted an “increase in socialising and mobility” in the country during the period. 'At-home' sales in the region were less pronounced, although remained ahead of 2021 comparables.

In Brazil, sales were up 15.3% thanks in part to the roll-out of the Fruit Shoot brand and a strong showing by "credible, scale" coconut water brand Puro Coco. The country is not without its challenges for Britvic, however, as rising inflation prompted the implementation of "multiple price increases" over the six months.

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On a brand level, all of Pepsi, Tango, 7UP, R Whites, J20, Lipton and Fruit Shoot delivered double-digit growth, although Britvic admitted the volumes for cordial brand Robinson’s were “softer”, due to strong comparables and a reduction in promotional activity to "protect and grow the brand’s margin".

In accompanying commentary, the group admitted to “significant pricing activity” over the last two quarters to combat soaring costs - the effects of which will likely come into play in its second half. Inflationary headwinds are also expected longer term, Britvic warned.

CEO Simon Litherland

"I am delighted with our first half performance. We have successfully executed pricing and cost actions to mitigate significant levels of inflation while continuing to rebuild investment to support our near and longer-term growth ambitions.

“The current geopolitical uncertainty is likely to result in continued cost inflation and pressure on consumer spending at least into 2023. I remain confident, however, that we will continue to successfully navigate the headwinds ... ."

To view Britvic’s official half-year results announcement, click here.

Why M&A moves suggest a healthy future for soft drinks - Click here for a Just Drinks comment