Barr ‘cautiously optimistic’ as sales accelerate

Irn-Bru maker AG Barr today said it was “cautiously optimistic” about its prospects for the coming year after seeing its sales accelerate during its financial fourth quarter.

The Cumbernauld-based firm, which suffered a 0.6 per cent dip in third-quarter revenues after losing the UK contract to sell Orangina, said its trading performance during the three months to 25 January was “well ahead” of the wider soft drinks market, with growth of more than 5 per cent.

Full-year revenues are expected to have risen about 2 per cent to £259 million. Stripping out the impact of lost Orangina revenues, year-on-year sales growth would be about 3 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The Orangina deal was lost following the acquisition of Ribena and Lucozade by Japanese group Suntory in 2013.

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Barr said all its core brands, which also include Rubicon, Strathmore Water and Tizer, have performed well in an intensely competitive and often volatile market, with its performance supported by its sponsorship of last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

It added: “We are cautiously optimistic regarding the new financial year and at this point expect to see further growth and development across the company, despite the challenging operating environment and market conditions.”

The group is due to publish its full-year results on 24 March.