Magners’ owner C&C Group is remaining cautiously upbeat despite reporting an 11.9% fall in UK cider volumes in the three months to 30 November.

The group revealed that volumes of Magners in the UK fell 11.7% during the quarter. Gaymers also saw a volume drop of 12.3%, while revenue from UK ciders declined 19.1% during the same period.

However, in its interim management statement, C&C said the fall in cider volume represented a “moderate improvement on the first half”, reflecting increased levels of off-trade promotional activity. However, price/mix deflation was 7.2% in the quarter.

C&C Group, which recently acquired the Gleeson Group and Vermont Hard Cider Company, said its Tennent’s UK performance remained solid despite a third quarter volume decline of 3.6%, with net revenue up 7.5%.

The company admitted there had been little “discernible improvement” in the trading environment for the UK long alcoholic drink category in the third quarter, and added that the market remained “tough” for brand owners, with “increased competition in cider is adding to pricing pressure.”

The firm described trading over Christmas as mixed between different markets. “Retail data in the UK off-trade suggests a more muted festive trading period in general and for LAD specifically. Tennent’s trading over Christmas was resilient,” the statement added.