An increased reliance on the price-competitive off-trade means the Ireland-based company is achieving lower margins in the British market, but year-on-year volumes were up 4.8% in the three months to November 30. Net revenue was down 0.3%.
A trading statement said: “The trading environment over the Christmas period was mixed for both Ireland and Great Britain.
“The adverse winter weather undoubtedly had a severe impact on trading activity in pubs. Magners volumes shipped to the UK on-trade were down 19% in comparison with the same period last year.
“The poor weather in the UK appears to have encouraged consumers to stay at home, weighting the festive demand further in favour of the off-trade. Magners’ UK off-trade volumes shipped in December 2010 were up 52%, albeit against a weak set of comparatives in December 2009.”?C&C said the off-trade performance had helped it achieve its short-term goals in the UK. It added that “economic conditions in the group’s core markets remain unpredictable and the adverse weather has added to the existing consumer challenges”, but said it expected to achieve annual operating profits between €102 million and €106 million (£85-89 million).