Issuing its full-year and final quarter (Q4) trading update, the UK-based drinks firm said it had delivered 23.2% sales growth in still drinks in its Q4.
Price and volume for products in the category were both significantly up, it stated. “Fruit Shoot’s market share and brand perception measures are now back to pre-recall levels,” it added, basing its comments on Nielsen data.
In addition, Britvic’s US franchise business has pushed distribution of the brand into 32 states.
UK markets benefited from warm weather in July and, despite the challenging consumer environment, the group had grown both price and volume for products overall, it claimed.
“We see today’s statement as the beginning of a new chapter in Britvic’s history and the starting point of the company rebuilding a new track record going forward,” said Shore Capital analyst Phil Carroll.
“We believe the new strategy presented by [ceo] Simon Litherland at the interim results was sensible and to our minds reflected a ‘back to basics’ approach. His plan is to simplify the business in how it operates and the reporting structures within it, thus reducing complexity.”
Commenting on the figures, Litherland said: “While we have benefited from the good weather this summer, especially in July, we are particularly pleased to see that Fruit Shoot share is now back at pre-recall levels and continues to grow.”
The company grew carbonates sales in the 12 weeks to September 29 by 8.6%, powered mainly by volume growth, with Pepsi, which Britvic bottles in the UK, growing volume and market share.
Britvic had outperformed the overall take-home soft drinks market during the period, it said. It reported sales growth across the major markets of France, Ireland and other international zones.
However, Litherland cautioned: “In each of our markets the consumer environment is challenging as disposable incomes remain under pressure and consumers continue to seek value.”
Group sales for the 52 weeks to September 29 rose by 4.4% to £1.3bn, with operating profit expected to be slightly above top end estimates of up to £131M.
In November 2012, Britvic reported close to a 20% drop in profits, after a boy from Essex choked on a newly-designed lid of a Fruit Shoot bottle, prompting a recall that cost an estimated £25M.