C&C Group, the owner of Magners, is to part company with chief executive Maurice Pratt following a slump in first-half sales.

The Irish cider maker announced the resignation of Pratt today as it emerged that sales volumes of cider for the six months to 31 August had fallen by 12%. Total sales for the period dropped by more than 13% to €302.4m (£240m).

Following the news, the company said it was “commencing an in-depth review of its marketing and commercial strategy in Great Britain with a view to restoring revenue growth”. Board member Philip Lynch will take a lead role on the review.

Pratt, who will officially step down when his successor has been identified, commented: “We have initiated a fundamental review of our strategy within Great Britain. I believe now is the time to step down to allow a newly appointed CEO to devise and to execute a new strategy for the group’s profitable growth.”

C&C said that although tough market conditions and a dismal summer had contributed to poor sales, “the group does not believe these wholly account for the strong brand equity in Magners not converting into improved market performance”.

The company warned that it was now expecting a drop in second-half profits.