Cold weather in May damages UK cider and lager sales
The maker of Magners cider and Tennents lager said tough new drink drive limits in Scotland and May's unseasonally cold weather hit sales in the first three months of its year.
Dublin-based C&C Group, which also makes Bulmers and Gaymers cider, said it saw weaker-than-expected trading in its first quarter to the end of May as sales were impacted in Ireland and Scotland by cold and wet weather, particularly in May. The company employs 54 people in Tennent's NI, which is based in Belfast.
C&C said that it had faced "challenges" from the introduction of new rules in Scotland in December limiting drivers to having 50mg of alcohol in every 100ml of blood, down from 80mg, making it lower than the rest of the UK.
C&C said that rural and community pubs had been "disproportionately affected" by the new legislation. Shares fell almost 4%.
The group said that although trading conditions in the first three months of its year were weaker than expected, it anticipated "a gradual improvement in core market performance as the year progresses". Trading in England and Wales was in line with expectations as it enjoyed a stable market share from its core cider brands. In the US, it said the recent launch of its Gumption cider brand extension had performed strongly with sales ahead of plan.
"The US cider category remains highly attractive and the group is firmly committed to capitalising on its long-term growth potential."
Plans to exploit new opportunities by selling in Africa and Eastern Europe were in various stages of development, it added.