In its latest trading update for the nine months to 30 September 2020, the Vimto brand owner revealed it had launched into consolation with it employees over the future of the business.
This consultation followed a review of its operational structures and the integration of prior year acquisitions in the out of home (OoH) route to market into its business – a market that has seen significant declines in the wake o0f the coronavirus pandemic, Nichols claimed.
Talks with staff
Talks are still in their early stages, but it is understood that 30 roles across Nichols’ OoH operation are under review during the consultation process. It is unknown at this time if members of staff affected by these redundancies would be redeployed within the business.
John Nichols, non-Executive Chairman, said: “As part of our ongoing focus on ensuring the Group has the right structures in place to deliver its long-term strategy, the Group has taken the difficult decision to propose, subject to consultation, that a number of roles are removed from our structure. These difficult decisions have not been taken lightly and I thank all Nichols colleagues for their continued hard work and commitment.
“Whilst recognising the current and near-term impact of the pandemic on the soft drinks market, the Board continues to believe that Nichols, underpinned by the strength of the Vimto brand and the Group’s diversified business model, remains well placed to deliver its long-term strategic ambitions.”
Pandemic effect on sales
Difficulties arising from the pandemic saw total group revenue decrease 16.5% to £91.7m against the prior year. This was despite the Vimto brand reportedly outperforming the wider UK soft drinks market – up 5.8% in value terms in the year to date, versus 1.9% value growth respectively.
Third quarter revenues in OoH were 45.2% lower than those seen in the same period of 2019, as many of the Group’s customers’ outlets remained closed or operated with significantly reduced footfall as a result of ongoing social distancing restrictions.
With significant uncertainty still hanging over the rest of the fourth quarter of 2020, Nichols’ board of directors expected adjusted profit before tax to be between £11m and £13m for the full-year.
Meanwhile, Oscar Mayer is proposing to transfer production of supermarket own-label ready meals away from Chard in Somerset, putting 860 workers under threat of redundancy after managers ran out of options.