Putting the fizz back into AG Barr’s sales

Irn Bru launched their newest Christmas ad yesterday. Picture: AG Barr
Irn Bru launched their newest Christmas ad yesterday. Picture: AG Barr
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Irn-Bru maker AG Barr has “restored revenue momentum” in its latest quarter, analysts said yesterday, as the group stressed it was continuing to maintain a tight grip on costs.

In a trading update, the Cumbernauld-based drinks firm said revenue from ongoing business for the 18 weeks to 28 November rose by 3.9 per cent compared to a year earlier. Year-to-date revenue from the ongoing business was down by 0.2 per cent, pointing to a sales recovery over the summer and autumn.

Barr said it was making good progress despite “continued difficult market conditions”.

It told investors: “As anticipated, our revenue performance in the third quarter has gained momentum as we put the specific challenges of the first half behind us and return to our long-term growth strategy.

“Margins remain in line with our expectations, underpinned by ongoing tight cost control activity.

The group also said its warehouse expansion project in Milton Keynes was nearing completion while “good progress” was being made on the production capability projects at both Milton Keynes and Cumbernauld, designed to provide “increased flexibility and support future innovation opportunities”.

Looking ahead, Barr said: “We are now entering the important festive trading period and we anticipate the marketplace will remain highly competitive.

“However, our sales execution activities are well developed.”

Investec Securities analyst Nicola Mallard, who has a “buy” rating on the shares, noted: “As we had hoped, AG Barr has restored revenue momentum in Q3, putting it back on track for its long-term growth strategy.”