Better than expected sales in supermarkets failed to offset the impact of pub and restaurant closures.
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Drinks mixer business Fever-Tree saw UK sales drop 22% in 2020 as Covid-related closures across the hospitality sector took the fizz out of its results.
The company revealed sales in its biggest market fell from £132.6 million to £103.3 million in the 12 months to the end of 2020.
But the fall was offset by soaring growth in its off-trade business through supermarkets and essential retailers, which exceeded expectations.
Globally, Fever-Tree saw growth in the US, Australia and Canada, helping total revenues hit £252.1 million – a fall of just 3% on 2019 when sales were £260.5 million.
Prior to the pandemic around 45% of sales were through pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues, so bosses said they are pleased total revenues only fell by 3%.
Pre-tax profits fell from £72.5 million to £51.6 million.
Bosses said they are hopeful for the year ahead and that the uncertainty over Covid-19 can be reduced as the vaccine rollout continues.
They added that the first months of 2021 have seen continuing strong sales in its off-trade business.
As pubs and bars reopen, the company said it believes on-trade sales will help revenues increase by between 12% and 16% this year.
Tim Warrillow, co-founder and chief executive, said: “We are working closely with our on-trade customers as they prepare for reopening across our regions and while we are mindful of the gradual nature of easing of restrictions, we share their optimism and excitement for this important channel in the months and years ahead.”
Analysts appear to share his optimism.
Wayne Brown of Liberum said: “The strong off-trade share gains achieved over 2020 are reflective of the consumers’ desire to recreate premium long mixed drinks and cocktails at home, and should translate into more on-trade sales once lockdown ends.”