“After a strong start, growth in both the overall LAD market and the cider category in Ireland slowed in the second half of the financial year,” stated the company, which pointed out that, “The performance of cider was buoyed by better Summer weather as well as new product development helping to expand the category and bring in new millennial consumers. Cider is now ahead of where it was two years ago both in absolute scale and as a percentage of LAD consumption.”
The trade enjoyed a strong early Summer as both the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland football teams progressed from the group stages of the European Championships, according to the statement which continued, “By contrast July was poor across the industry. Volumes improved again in August, helped by some better weather. The second half was impacted by the absence of the Rugby World Cup which was in last year’s comparatives and trading was more volatile through the key Christmas trading period.”
Bulmers recorded brand volume growth of 2.8% here which contributed to a 3.6% growth in Operating Profits for C&C on the Irish market.
Bulmers volume growth was driven by a strong performance in packaged – especially pint bottle growth at 14% – in the on-trade. Broadly, the brand held share in on- and off-trade packaged but ceded some share in draught. On-trade share stands at 85% (compared to 91% MAT, Feb ‘16) and overall Bulmers’ share stands at 62% (where it was 65% MAT to Feb ‘16).
During the year, C&C completed an extensive review of its Bulmers brand and the competitive threat it’s facing from new entrants here which led to the present €4 million investment in re-branding and the launch of Outcider.
“Our key focus for FY2018 is to take advantage of the growing popularity of cider and re-build share, particularly amongst the new generation of consumers entering the category,” stated the company.
Ireland revenues were 10.8% down to €347.3 million on an adjusted comparative basis while net revenues at C&C Group were down 6.9% to €559.5 million on a constant currency basis, with operating profits down 0.4% to €95 million and pre-tax profits down 13% to €87.2 million.