Heineken sales fall flat as punters are hit by higher prices

Heineken sales loose their fizz as punters drink less beer in the face of higher prices

Heineken sales have fallen flat as punters put down their favourite pints in the face of higher prices.

The Dutch brewer, which also owns Amstel and Sol, said UK sales fell nearly 10 per cent in the first three months of the year as consumers cut back on spending.

Despite the dip in sales, Heineken said that revenue was up around 5 per cent, with premium tipples like Birra Moretti and Beavertown leading the way in Britain.

Overall beer volumes for the group fell 3 per cent in the first quarter, worse than the 1.9 per cent decline expected. 

Price hikes: Heineken said UK sales fell nearly 10% in the first three months of the year as consumers cut back on spending

Heineken said volumes were dragged down by a ‘disappointing’ performance in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, while Europe was ‘relatively resilient’ as consumers invest in more expensive beers when they indulge.

The price of raw materials has rocketed, putting pressure on brewers to up their prices across the board.

The company said it was waiting for approval to sell its business in Russia. It has previously said exiting the region would mean a £245million hit. 

‘We see the economic environment as volatile and uncertain,’ Dolf van den Brink, Heineken chief executive, said.

For the year, Heineken still expects profit growth in the mid-to-high single-digits.

Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said Heineken’s continuous price hikes are ‘leaving a bad taste in consumers’ mouths’. 

‘For now, price hikes were enough to offset falling volumes, helping to inflate the top line. 

‘But unfortunately, the higher revenue didn’t make its way down to the bottom line,’ he said.

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