Blood warns on-trade to face facts

By The PMA Team

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags On-trade beer market Alcoholic beverage Weather Newcastle upon tyne

S&NUK boss: 'decline is worst for 27 years' Jeremy Blood, who has been confirmed as boss of Scottish & Newcastle UK in the wake of the...

S&NUK boss: 'decline

is worst for 27 years'

Jeremy Blood, who has been confirmed as boss of Scottish & Newcastle UK in the wake of the Heineken takeover, has claimed the on-trade beer market is the worst it has been in 27 years.

Blood said the on-trade beer market is seeing the sort of declines in volume "unknown for a generation". He said: "People have to look at their business models — and not be ostriches."

His comment came as one Morning Advertiser source claims that April on-trade beer volumes are likely to have experienced "carnage" with declines of about 15%.

One senior industry source told the MA: "The first two weeks of May, and April, were our only summer last year. There's been a classic double swing — great weather and Easter falling in April last year, compared to a smoking ban, bad weather and consumer slowdown this April.

"In real terms, the price of beer in supermarkets is lower than pre-Budget. What's clear is that supermarkets are investing their own margin in pricing activity."

The comments come as British Beer & Pub Association figures show a very poor March for the on-trade and a very strong month for the off-trade.

Total beer volumes were down -7.6% in the on-trade in March, compared to the year before, while total off-trade beer sales were up 15.4%. Overall total beer volumes were up by 1.5% compared to the year before.

A source said: "The off-trade figures may be flattered by major supermarkets buying large amounts of beer ahead of the duty increase in the Budget."

Industry observers hope figures will improve once the first anniversary of the smoking ban is reached, especially if the weather is better than last summer.

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