Bulmers hit by changes in pub ownership

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Related tags: Beer, Alcoholic beverage, Bulmers

Drinks group Bulmers predicts that changes in pub ownership over the past months will provide opportunities for new supply deals.The company said it...

Drinks group Bulmers predicts that changes in pub ownership over the past months will provide opportunities for new supply deals.

The company said it would benefit from the arrival of new customers because of the strength of its brands and its distributor, The Beer Seller.

But chief executive Mike Hughes admitted that its profits were hit by the instability of the pub industry, with Bass, Scottish & Newcastle and Whitbread selling thousands of pubs.

He said Bulmers suffered from a "particularly difficult year", with a string of problems which led to an "unhelpful trading environment". He blamed poor summer weather, floods, the fuel crisis, train chaos and foot-and-mouth disease.

With the on-trade cider market down by five per cent over the year, Bulmers' brands were down by two per cent. However, Strongbow was up by three per cent.

Sales of its premium lager brands Amstel, Red Stripe and San Miguel soared, and its new flavoured schnapps product Sidekick sold 15million units in its first six months.

Pre-tax profits for the year to April 27 were up just one per cent to £28.6m although the acquisition of The Beer Seller and the growth of Strongbow and its lagers lifted turnover by 57 per cent to £526.6m.

Its e-commerce initiative, Pubserve.com, has been taken up by more pubs, enabling them to trade online with The Beer Seller and market their businesses.

Bulmers, which also produces Woodpecker and Scrumpy Jack, is restructuring the group with the loss of 130 jobs from its 1,700-strong workforce.

Related topics: Cider

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