The chief executive of Constellation Brands, which owns the Corona Extra beer brand, has criticised claims in the media that the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted its sales.
Bill Newlands was commenting following a slew of reports in recent days that suggested that sales of the popular beer were hampered due to similarities between the beer's name and the coronavirus, the death toll from which has now exceeded 3,000.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation," Newlands said in a statement.
"These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country."
Constellation Brands pointed to 'strong' sales in the most recent four-week period, in which Corona Extra saw a 5% increase in sales, while sales for the entire Corona brand family are 'outpacing' their 52-week trend in the latest 4-week and 12-week periods.
The company added that 'all business units supporting our beer business are seeing positive sales trends for the brand' in the calendar year to date.
"We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well," said Newlands.
The chief executive also pointed out that sales of its beer brands are focused "almost entirely" on the US market, and it its presence in Asian markets impacted by the coronavirus is limited.
"Our company does not have much exposure to international markets such as China that have been most impacted by this situation," he said. "I’m extremely proud of the efforts of our team. We’ve built good momentum as we gear up for the upcoming summer selling season.”
Newlands added that the company's "thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible virus", and that the business was hopeful that it could be contained soon.
Constellation Brands' beer portfolio includes brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Corona Premier, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra, and Pacifico, as well as a range of wine and spirits brands.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.