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Irn Bru maker reports boost from pub reopenings

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Scottish drinks company AG Barr has said it is seeing encouraging trading as people return to restaurants, pubs and bars around the UK.

The business said it has been trading in line with expectations over the last four months, despite lockdown restrictions affecting much of the country over that period.

The Irn Bru maker reported no figures ahead of its annual general meeting on Friday, but shareholders were given a small insight into how the business has performed.

“Despite lockdown restrictions being in place across much of the first quarter, Barr soft drinks trading has been relatively strong since the start of the new financial year,” AG Barr told investors.

“As lockdown restrictions have eased, we have seen a positive impact on both our sales volume and mix, with a shift back towards ‘drink now’, hospitality and leisure.”

The company’s cocktail range, Funkin, has already started to see the benefits of reopening, with sales in restaurants and bars providing “optimism for the sector’s recovery”.

It is also continuing a strong run for cans of Funkin cocktails to drink at home, which had already been seen in 2020.

Liberum analysts Wayne Brown and Anubhav Malhotra said: “Here the group is seeing an increase in both customer listings and new consumers enjoying Funkin cocktails at home.

“The balance sheet remains strong and the group has reconfirmed its commitment to recommence dividend payments during the current financial year.

“A further update in this regard will be provided in the half-year trading update in early August 2021.”

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