Sapporo Holdings posted a net loss for the first quarter, as a result of increased costs on product advertising, but losses at the Japanese brewer have narrowed from the first quarter of 2006.

Sapporo posted a group net loss of JPY3,981m (US$33.2m) in its first-quarter results, down from a loss of JPY5,914m in the same quarter last year. Sapporo said the rise in costs was largely due to increased promotional spend on new products.

Sales rose by 5.7% to JPY90.12bn on the back of strong beer sales and the contribution from the recent acquisition of the Canadian beer firm Sleeman Breweries.

Revenues from Sapporo's alcoholic drinks division rose by 9.9% to JPY67.7bn, but sales from its soft drinks business fell by 14.2% to JPY10.4 bn. The company said this was due to the temporary sales suspension of its Fujiya drinks.