By James Atkinson
The continued strength of the Independent Brands Australia (IBA) retail banner groups countered a decline in overall volumes through Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) for the six months to October 31.
At Metcash’s half-year results announcement this morning, ALM CEO Scott Marshall said a robust performance by IBA saw ALM’s EBIT increase by 6.9 per cent to $24.9 million.
However, lower overall volumes resulted in a 3.6 per cent decline in ALM’s total sales, which Marshall attributed to continued consolidation in the independent market, with external banner groups losing market share to organised banners and the chains.
“Another factor is the chains wholesaling from big box," he said. “There’s also the consumer decline in consumption, so consumers are drinking less, but better quality. We’re seeing that impact mix, so both in wholesale and retail we have to react and ensure that our range and our programs and matching the consumer needs.”
Metcash’s group sales revenue increased one per cent on the prior comparable period. Underlying profit after tax decreased nine per cent to $101.7 million, “due to ongoing operating deleverage and as investment in the Food and Grocery strategy commenced”.