Beer sales suffer in tough conditions
Published:  11 July, 2008

Greene King said like-for-like beer sales were down nearly 3% in the off-trade in the year to May 4, underlining the market pressure on brewers.

The brewer said retail beer sales had slipped in the past couple of months, despite a relatively strong performance overall.

The Old Speckled Hen brewer's recent decline is reflected across the UK's off-trade beer sector.

Both ale and lager sales fell

2% in value in the 12 months to April 19 , according to Nielsen figures.

Greene King said its own beers, including IPA and Abbot Ale, had bucked the problems in the take-home market for most of the past year.

Old Speckled Hen grew its volume by 28 % and its share of the premium ale category in supermarkets by 2% to 11.9%.

The brewer said it was committed to "long-term investment" in its own brands, following a £2 million promotional campaign for IPA last year.

Total Greene King revenue rose 5% to £960.5 million, with pre-tax profit up 2% to £142 million.

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