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Last year the sun went away... so people stopped drinking cider

Irish ciders Bulmers and Magners had a tough 2014.

THE C&C GROUP, the company behind Bulmers cider, hasn’t lost confidence in its key brands despite big slides in sales last year.

The company’s income from the top-selling cider brand in Ireland dropped 7.5% over the 12 months to the end of February, while in the UK its Magners label suffered an even heavier fall.

The decline in C&C’s Irish business came after what it described as the one-off effect of an “exceptional” summer on Irish cider sales in 2013.

However the company said it had been spending up on marketing and its “not a moment too soon” campaign had “resonated exceptionally well” with its target audience.

In England and Wales, it plans to cut costs for its Magners business after sales of the cider brand plunged 14.1% by volume.

Consumer affinity for the brand remained strong with the brand regaining number one in premium apple cider in the off-trade,” the company said. “However, economically the existing business model is not tenable.”

Budget 2007 Source: Peter Byrne/PA

The bigger picture

Overall, the company reported its total operating profit was down 9.2% to €115 million despite net revenue going up 10.3% to almost €684 million for the year.

Scotland, where C&C sells Tennent’s Lager among other brands, was one of the star performers with net revenue up a massive 61%.

C&C Source: C&C Group

That was despite the “challenging” trading conditions for the last three months of the financial year after the introduction of stricter drink-driving rules.

C&C CEO Stephen Glancey said the company’s core businesses in Ireland and Scotland – which delivered the vast majority of profits – had delivered “modest” growth in the year.

We continued to make progress towards our objective of building leading brand-led distribution businesses in both of these regions,” he said. “This model reinforces the sustainability of our earnings and cash generation capability which, in turn, drives our ability to create and sustain value for shareholders.”

READ: A century ago Irish whiskey dominated the world – so what happened? >

READ: The economic recovery means Irish people are drinking more >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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