Tetley Tea owner Tata Global Beverages GB suffered a 9% sales slump last year as it battled falling consumption of black tea in the UK.
Turnover fell from £161.2m to £146.6m in the year to the end of March 2015, thanks to tough conditions in its two major markets of the UK and Canada.
Manesh Thakrar, regional chief finance officer - EMEA at Tata, told The Grocer the UK had continued to see a decline in black tea sales and a change in “promotional dynamics”, while it had changed its supply model in Canada.
Thakrar said the company was tackling the decline of black tea in the UK by growing the business in green, fruit and herbal teas. Tata planned to maximise the value of its brands and increase its presence in the wider beverage market in future.
The Grocer’s Focus on Hot Beverages last month showed Tetley Tea sales fell 10.1% to £96.8m [IRI 52 w/e 20 June 2015].
Nevertheless, Tata’s pre-tax profit climbed 5.8% from £13.7m to £14.5m thanks to a sharp drop in administrative expenses, which fell to £9.3m from £23.5m last year due to one-off consultancy and restructuring costs in the previous financial year.
Writing in the newly released accounts at Companies House accounts, Tata said the overall year was “satisfactory” and “profitable” given “challenging market conditions”.
The report notes that the company has a UK market share of 16.4% in value terms, down from 18% the previous year. Canada, its largest export market, managed to maintained leadership with a value share of 31.1%, compared with 31.6% last time.
Performance in the company’s other markets were deemed “satisfactory” and the company continued to focus on improving “brand health” in the markets it operated, according to the report.