Blog: Olly WehringC&C - stuck in a season

Olly Wehring | 16 July 2007

Well, that's that cleared up, then. When it comes to seasonality, the UK drinks consumer is not one for bucking trends.

Late last week, C&C, the Irish company behind the wildly successful Magners cider brand, issued a profit warning for its full-year. The group pointed in part to the relatively poor weather in the UK in June and July, as well as an increase in price competition from the likes of Scottish & Newcastle.

Despite a relatively healthy rise in C&C's cider volumes in the first three months of this year (up by 38% year-on-year), the importance of the second quarter for cider cannot be overstated. Think of summer, think of cider, as the traditional viewpoint believes. And with rain and no major sporting event to focus on, the Great British summer this year really has been nothing to write home about.

At the same time, C&C has tried it hardest to 'de-seasonalise' the offering. This profit warning, however, suggests that that approach hasn't been all too successful. Indeed, if summer can't produce the goods for cider companies, wither the rest of the year.

It's the same problem faced by categories such as Sherry and cream liqueurs - most notably Bailey's of course - who live and die by Christmas trading. They have been trying to alter the UK consumers' perception of what should be drunk at which time of year for years now, with little effect.

C&C is now expecting zero growth this year. A poor summer does not bode well for the rest of the year for C&C, it seems.


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