Heineken innovation drive lifts Western Europe volumes

Heineken has hailed the success of recent product launches such as Foster’s Radler for lifting beer volumes across Europe in its latest quarter, but continues to see global sales come under pressure from declining demand.

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The brewer posted a a 2 per cent year-on-year jump in beer volumes across Western Europe for the three months to 30 September as its Foster’s Radler flavoured-lager extensions started to gain traction with shoppers following the brand’s launch earlier this year. The brewer, which is the biggest in Europe, said the volume increase was led by growth in key markets the UK, Netherlands, France and Spain.

The announcement is a fillip to the company, which has targeted 6 per cent of global sales a year from new products. Earlier this year, it revealed 6 per cent of sales during the first half of 2013 came from new products.

Despite Western Europe showing signs of stabilising, Heineken said “weaknesses” in key developing markets such as Brazil and Nigeria kept global sales growth at 0.2 per cent in the quarter. Beer volumes slipped 3 per cent over the same period. It also blamed a weak consumer environment in Central and Eastern Europe for denting demand.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman and chief executive, says the business would be restructuring in Europe and undertaking other “cost related initiatives” to reverse the decline.

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