Fever-Tree shop sales spike by a quarter as people sip gin at home

Tonic maker Fever-Tree saw sales from supermarkets and off-licences surge by nearly a quarter in the first full month of lockdown, as Britons hit the gin while stuck at home.

The business said that although its trading in restaurants, pubs and bars, so-called on-trade, had ground to a halt, its off-trade shot up by 24%.

The on-trade segment of the business usually accounts for about 50% of its revenue in the UK, so the shutdown has hit Fever-Tree sales hard.

However, the business has coped reasonably well during the crisis, said chairman Bill Ronald.

Its core range of tonics has done especially well.

“Although we have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, we are well positioned to manage our way through the current situation,” Mr Ronald said.

The business has a net cash position of £128 million for the 2019 financial year, he said.

“While the on-trade remains fully or partially closed across many of our regions, the group’s performance across the off-trade continues to be very encouraging,” he added.

“Management remain focused on delivering our long-term strategy and we are confident the group will be well placed once the current period of uncertainty ends.”

Fever-Tree’s US business, which relies on off-sales for 70% of its revenue, has also done well. The off-trade sales jumped 98% in the four weeks to April 18, according to data from Nielsen.

It has taken a bigger hit in southern Europe, where it is more reliant on bar and restaurant sales, than in the north, where customers prefer to sip their tonics at home.

The business has not furloughed any staff.

Its shares rose about 0.8% on Thursday.

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