However the on-trade continued to out-perform the off-trade, growing volume by 1% compared to an off-trade decline of 2%.
“This represented a robust performance given the challenging 2013 comparatives and reflects positive consumer sentiment following improvements in the economic outlook for Ireland,” stated C&C which reported a 3% growth in market values via an on-trade increase of 2% and an off-trade increase of 4%.
The Group’s operations in Ireland now comprise bothits businesses in Northern Ireland and RoI while synergies from the integration of Gleeson with the existing Irish business and the consolidation of sales, marketing and finance overheads contributed to an improvement in operating margin.
Taken together, the Irish (53%) and Scottish (33%) markets were responsible for 86% of the company’s Operating Profits in H1 with England & Wales contributing 10%, exports 3% and the US just 1%.
Cider volume decreased 4.4% in the six-month period while cider net revenue fell by 5.7% reflecting price deflation in the off-trade and the negative impact of a swing from on- to off-trade in RoI for its brands.
“Cider was a big winner in the on-trade last Summer presenting challenging quarter 2 comparatives for C&C,” stated the company, adding that underlying trends remain positive.
Beer net revenue increased in the period by 1.8% despite a 1.9% decline in volume.
The Group also launched Clonmel 1650 Irish lager which is now in around 300 outlets, according to the company which added, “Initial feedback is encouraging”.
The Gleeson business performed “in line with expectations” in H1.