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Scottish & Newcastle still on track

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 07-Nov-2006

Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) says it will hit its commercial targets this year despite a downturn in the UK beer market.

"There have been pressures in the UK business, but we're hitting our targets for this year and gaining market share," said a spokesman.

S&N said the domestic beer market had been weaker than expected in the third quarter, down 6.7 per cent according to figures provided by the British Beer & Pub Association.

A "more depressed consumer environment" was driving down sales, said S&N, as was a stock overhang from the World Cup.

However, the brewer said total branded beer and cider volumes were up 0.6 per cent in the third quarter.

Key brands Foster's, Kronenbourg 1664, John Smith's and Strongbow saw volume growth ahead of this, up two per cent.

The group said it believed it would continue to outperform the market when the smoking ban comes into effect in England and Wales next year, thanks to its "strong portfolio of brands benefiting from our focus on innovation in beer and cider".

Outside the UK, S&N's international business had seen "good progress", although Western European markets had been "challenging".

The brewer announces third quarter results for its Baltic Beverage Holdings operation tomorrow (November 8).

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