Sales at Robinsons squash maker Britvic slide amid hospitality closures

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Robinsons squash maker Britvic has revealed a slump in sales for the past three months after it was weighed down by hospitality closures.

Shares in the company dipped in early trading after the drinks firm revealed that total sales slid by 5.8% to £328.1 million in the quarter to December 31.

The firm, which also makes J2O and Tango, said its British sales were more robust but still heavily impacted by coronavirus restrictions.

Total revenues in its GB business fell by 4.1% on the back of a 32.5% decline in “out-of-home” revenues, as it sold fewer drinks in pubs, restaurants and cafes due to closures.

This slump was partly offset by increased sales of its products to be drank at home, with retail sales 11.9% higher over the period.

It told investors that it expects restrictions in the UK to continue through to the end of March and continue to weigh on hospitality sales.

The group said it expects these sales to bounce back gradually as restrictions are lifted.

Britvic said sales were strong in its Brazilian business, rising by 25.6%, while its “Rest of World” region reported a 19.3% revenue fall.

Simon Litherland, chief executive of the company, said: “Trading in the first quarter continued to be impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

“Our portfolio of family favourite brands has however again performed well in the channels open to us, assisted by the additional flexibility we now enjoy as a result of investment in our GB supply chain.

“I remain very proud of how the Britvic team continue to respond with pace and agility to the changing landscape.

“While the introduction of the latest restrictions will undoubtedly impact this year’s results, we will continue to implement our strategy.

“We therefore intend to rebuild investment behind our brands, people and planet initiatives and stay focused on our medium and long-term potential.”

Shares in the company were 1.6% lower at 749p in early trading.

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