C&C Group, the maker of Tennent's lager and Magners cider, has said that it is 'encouraged' by the level to which trade has recovered in the UK and Ireland since the gradual reopening of hospitality businesses in recent weeks.
However, the business is still exercising caution, noting that 'restrictions in both markets remain, with the timing and nature of further easing still uncertain'.
In a trading statement issued ahead of its AGM, C&C Group said that in the week to 27 June, it distributed products to 82% of the outlets in the comparative week in 2019, an indication of positive signs in the market.
'Given social distancing and indoor restrictions remain in place, volume throughput is adversely impacted through the customers that are currently operating,' it said. 'Nevertheless, we are encouraged by trading in recent weeks, with good weather aiding outdoor trading over the period.'
Without going into specifics, the group said that it reported a 'modest trading profit' in the month of May, while this improved yet further in June.
C&C CEO 'Cautiously Optimistic'
"Despite restrictions still in place and confirmed delays to full reopening, we remain cautiously optimistic about the gradual recovery of the hospitality sector in our core markets of the UK and Ireland, and we look forward to continuing to support our customers as restrictions are removed," commented David Forde, C&C chief executive.
Forde added that as the business navigates through this period, it will focus on building both brand and structural strength, which "underpins C&C’s position as the leading brand-led distributor in the UK and Irish drinks market.
"Our recent successful capital raise has strengthened the balance sheet and positions the Group to take advantage of opportunities to strengthen and grow our business as we return to a more normalised trading environment.”
Last October, the group reported that net revenue had halved at its business, following the introduction of lockdown measures in the HoReCa sector. It announced a distribution agreement with Innis & Gunn earlier this year.