Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 08:40 UK

Sour outlook for Magners owners

Magners cider bottles
C&C invests heavily in marketing during its key summer period

The Irish firm that makes Magners cider has forecast a difficult time ahead with unpredictable weather and a slowing economy putting off consumers.

C&C said sales were down 8% over the four months to the end of June, with sales of its cider products down 10%.

It predicted that revenue in its six-month period to August would be lower than last year.

Dublin-based C&C has struggled since a sparkling year in 2006, when sales soared by 225%.

Then, a combination of a hot summer and the football World Cup contributed to the success of Magners, in addition to an innovative advertising campaign.

But lately, its high marketing costs have been a drain on C&C's cash flow and it was forced to launch a cost-cutting programme aimed at saving about 10m euros a year.

C&C said that this had helped it to increase operating margins over the four-month period and would help it to offset a further decline in sales.

The drinks group, which sells Bulmers cider in the Irish Republic, said sales of its spirits, including Tullamore Dew whiskey, performed better over the past four months, with sales up 3%.

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