Poor weather and weak consumer sentiment held back growth in the northern hemisphere, brewing giant SABMiller has said in a trading update.
The company, which produces Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft, reported falling sales of lager in the first quarter, down 1% overall. Poor European performance was offset by stronger growth in African markets, up 8%, the company said, along with stable levels in Latin America, despite softer consumer spending, in the quarter ending 30 June.
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The UK saw lager volumes decline 8% due to the reduced discount level on Miller Genuine Draft, it said, a percentage point below that of Europe, which benefitted from volume growth of 13% in Romania.
Soft drinks grew 8% on an organic basis, SABMiller said, with growth coming from Latin America, Europe and Africa.
The underlying financial performance remains in line with expectations, the company added, with group revenue growing by 2%.
The company announced the retirement of independent non-executive director Cyril Ramaphosa from the board, effective from today.
According to Nielsen, UK off-trade sales of Peroni Nastro Azzurro grew 8% to 80.9m, off volume sales up 5% (MAT to 27 April 2013), but sales of Grolsch fell 28.5% by value to £19.6m, off volumes down 25%.