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AG Barr has said it is on target to bounce back in 2021, with sales recovering as lockdown eases.

Ahead of its AGM at midday, the Irn-Bru producer said trading so far in its financial year year since January 24 is in line with expectations..

Despite lockdown restrictions being in place across much of the first quarter, it said its soft drink trading has been relatively strong in 2021.

“As lockdown restrictions have eased we have seen a positive impact on both our sales volume and mix, with a shift back towards ‘drink now’, hospitality and leisure,” it said. “Our soft drinks trading momentum has been supported by encouraging new product launches – Rubicon RAW Energy in particular achieving promising initial customer listings and consumer feedback.”

While the pace and extent of the reopening of the hospitality sector varies by region,

It said its Funkin business is already beginning to see the benefits of the reopening of the hospitality sector, delivering on-trade sales that “provide optimism for the sector’s recovery”.

Across the take-home channel, the strong performance of Funkin ready to drink cocktails during 2020 is continuing, with an increase in both customer listings and new consumers drinking the range at home.

“Current trading is encouraging and we have clear plans to further invest in our brands, with exciting consumer engagement and marketing activity planned across the year,” it said.

“Whilst there remains some uncertainty in the short term as pandemic related restrictions ease, we believe we are well placed to drive the growth of the business and remain confident in the company’s prospects for the full year.”

The statement added that its balance sheet remains strong and it remains committed to the plan to recommence dividend payments during the current financial year.

AG Barr shares are down 0.4% this morning to 528p.

Morning update

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up 0.3% to 7,041.4pts so far this morning.

Risers so far include Total Produce, up 3.2% to 227p, McColl’s Retail Group, up 2.3% to 36.3p and PayPoint, up 1.4% to 596.2p.

Fallers include C&C Group, down 4.5% to 241.2p, Naked Wines, down 3.3% to 800p and Greencore, down 2.6% to 141p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 ended the day edging down 0.1% to 7,019.7pts.

Tate & Lyle dropped 6.1% yesterday to 765p despite a 6% rise in annual pre-tax profits and a 1% rise in sales.

Other fallers included C&C Group, down 7.5% to 249.8p, Imperial Brands, down 3.4% to 1,618p, Naked Wines, down 2.7% to 827p, Deliveroo, down 2.7% to 827p, Britvic, down 2.7% to 917.5p and Unilever down 2.6% to 4,190p.

Risers yesterday included Finsbury Food Group, up 5.5% to 96p, THG, up 1.2% to 608.5p, McColl’s Retail Group, up 1.1% to 35.5p, Marks & Spencer, up 1.1% to 171.1p, Sainsbury’s, up 1.1% to 266p and Bakkavor, up 1.1% to 135p.

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