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Magners owner C&C Group (CCR) has reported “mixed trading conditions” in the first quarter in a update ahead of its AGM today.

It said its core markets of Ireland and Scotland were hit by unseasonably cold and wet weather, particularly in May and the recent tightening of drink- driving regulations in Scotland has “disproportionately affected” rural/community pubs appear.

These conditions, and the continued integration of Wallaces in Scotland, “may mean a short term trading dip in our core markets”. However cost savings are being used to support incremental marketing spend, including new campaigns for Bulmers and Tennent’s.

C&C Brands, its business in England & Wales, had a positive first quarter, trading in line with expectations. It stated: “Good progress has been made on right sizing the business and the savings generated provide room to support a more stable market share performance from our core cider brands”.

In the US, first quarter shipments were up year-on-year, albeit against soft prior year comparisons, while exports to Asia, Australia and Europe have enjoyed a good start to the year. “Outside of our core domestic markets, growth in the cider category continues to illustrate its long term credentials”, it stated.

C&C Group said: “Following weaker than expected trading conditions in the first quarter, we anticipate a gradual improvement in core market performance as the year progresses. In the US and other Export markets, a return to growth is the target.

“For C&C brands, the objective for the financial year is earnings and volume stabilisation.”

Morning update

C&C Group’s shares have fallen 3.8% to €3.32 in early trading after warning of tough conditions in its core markets. 

Halfords has appointed a former Sainsbury’s FD as its new chief financial officer. Jonny Mason, the current CFO of chicken processor Scandi Standard, will join the bike and car parts retailer from 12 October replacing Andrew Findlay who left for Easyjet in April. Mason was previously FD for Sainsbury’s UK supermarket business.

Elsewhere it’s a quiet start to the day, with newsflow dominated by the ongoing Greek debt crisis and Germany’s rejection of a last minute compromise attempt. The FTSE 100 more generally has opened flat this morning as the market digest the latest twists and turns in the saga.

Yesterday in the City

The City continues to react to changing sentiment on Greece, with the FTSE 100 up 1.2% yesterday to 6601.9pts on renewed hopes and compromise can be found after the Greek government said it would accept most of the conditions offered in negotiations last weekend.

The improved sentiment helped most grocery stocks upwards, with SABMiller (SAB) rising 2.3% to 3,381p and Diageo (DGE) up 1.8% to 1,874p amongst the major beneficiaries.

Once more news was more mixed for the supermarkets. Tesco (TSCO) was one of the day’s few fallers, dropping another 1.4% to 209.6p as the hangover from Kantar Worldpanel’s market share data continued to have an effect. Sainsbury’s (SBRY) ended the day flat at 265.3p, while Morrisons (MRW) was up 0.5% to 181.7p.

Once more the day’s standout performer was Ocado (OCDO) – setting a new 12-month share price high while climbing another 3.9% to 463.1p after its encouraging first half trading figures.

Greene King (GNK) rose 0.6% to 849.5p after its full-year trading figures yesterday.