MillerCoors sees domestic sales decline

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MillerCoors’ U.S. domestic sales to retailers declined 2.6 percent for the fiscal year ending March 31, with a 1.4 percent drop in the fourth quarter, according to a trading update issued Tuesday by SABMiller plc of London, one of the beer brewing joint venture’s corporate parents.
Chicago-based MillerCoors operates a brewery in Trenton, which is in northeastern Butler County, where it employs 560 people. The brewery is the largest in Ohio.
SABMiller management said the overall market for MillerCoors’ “remains challenging.”
Premium light sales to retailers were flat in the fourth quarter with growth in Coors Light accompanied by improved Miller Lite performance, with volumes nearly level.
The below-premium portfolio declined in the low single digits in the fourth quarter amid “continued industry uptrading,” according to SABMiller.
The Tenth and Blake Beer Co., MillerCoors’ craft and import beer division, experienced double-digit growth, mainly driven by the strong performance of the Blue Moon and Leinenkugel brands and associated seasonal craft brand extensions. Domestic sales to wholesalers for MillerCoors declined 2.7 percent for the year, with a 2.5 percent decline in the fourth quarter, SABMiller said.
SABMiller will report formal full year results on May 19.
MillerCoors is jointly owned by London-based SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: TAP),It competes against other brewers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken NV, United Spirits Ltd. and United Breweries Ltd.