A.G. Barr has issued a statement ahead of its interim results in September, to say that its operating margin saw a 'short-term boost' in the first half of its financial year, as a result of brand-led initiatives and market factors.
While it does not expect this boost to continue into the second half of the year, full-year operating margin is still expected to be 'slightly ahead' of the previous year, it noted.
In the half-year to 1 August, A.G. Barr expects revenue to come in at £134 million, around 18% ahead of the same period last year (half-year to 25 July 2020: £113.2 million).
On a like-for-like basis, revenue is expected to increase 13% in the 26-week period, it added.
A.G. Barr Soft Drinks
It said that its Soft Drinks arm, which includes the Irn-Bru brand, has benefited from the recovery in 'on the go' consumption over the past six months, with 'at home' sales also remaining strong.
New product launches are also 'performing well', particularly in the energy sub category, led by the Rubicon RAW Energy brand.
The group's Funkin cocktail ingredients business has also seen 'positive momentum' in recent months, boosted by the reopening of the hospitality sector.
"We are pleased with the performance of the business in the year so far," commented Roger Whiteside, chief executive. "There is good momentum behind our core brands and we have re-entered the growing big can energy category with our Rubicon RAW Energy range."
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the group, which recently announced a number of board changes, said that it has seen 'increased challenges' arising out of the pandemic, including a driver shortage and associated labour pool issues, which it will 'continue to monitor closely'.
"We plan to increase our brand investment in the second half of the year, building on our progress to date," Whiteside added.
"While uncertainty remains, we are confident in delivering our plans across the balance of the year and meeting our recently revised full year profit expectations."