Robinsons squash buoys Britvic as sales hit by pub closures

Soaring demand for Robinsons squash from UK households has helped to buoy soft drinks giant Britvic after it was hit by pub closures in the face of coronavirus.

The company, which also makes J2O and Tango, said Government restrictions which have caused pubs to shut their doors have had a “significant impact” on its out-of-home sales.

However, it said shoppers have bought more packs of soft drinks to consume at home in recent months, with Robinsons’ sales jumping by almost a quarter – 24.9% – in April compared with the same month last year.

Meanwhile, sales of child-friendly Fruit Shoot were hit by the lockdown, the company said, as people stayed at home.

It said the brand had seen sales improve prior to the virus, while sales of Pepsi and 7Up were also strong in the UK.

The outbreak also hit sales of J2O and premium brands London Essence Company and Mathieu Teisseire, which typically see a significant proportion of their sales in hotels, bars and restaurants.

Britvic chief executive Simon Litherland said the drinks firm is confident in its long-term strategy “as consumers increasingly turn to trusted brands”.

He said: “The world is a very different place from the one it was a few months ago and I am proud and humbled by the resilience and dedication shown by the entire Britvic team.

“Our priorities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have been clear: protect our employees, deliver for our customers, support our communities and maintain our financial strength.

“We entered the Covid-19 crisis with strong momentum, having delivered a robust first-half performance, which continues our track record of consistent delivery since 2013.”

The company hailed its strong first six months but said it now expects earnings to take a hit of between £12 million and £18 million each month because of the pandemic.

Britvic reported a 1.4% increase in revenue to £698.8 million for the six months to March 31 as profit margins also improved.

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