Report says European soft drink market struggling
BASINGSTOKE, England Soda companies have been struggling with the poor U.S. economic conditions, but they’re not facing pressure from this continent alone. European soft drink sales are drastically falling, and many industry stakeholders are questioning the category’s stability, according to a new, 2008 third quarter review, published by beverage researcher Canadean.
Western Europe showed a 1 percent increase over last year in the soft drink category, and Canadean predicts the worst is yet to come for the Western European market, with the exception of the Netherlands and Norway. France showed a 1 percent decrease in the soft drink market; the UK, a 2 percent decrease; and Denmark, a whopping 6 percent decrease, with the country’s market officially in recession and soft drinks less popular than ever.
Eastern Europe isn’t dragging quite as much as its next-door neighbor. Third quarter numbers showed a 2 percent increase, with Canadean predicting a 3 percent increase for end-of-year results. Poland and Romania fared better than most, with a double-digit boost, though Russia suffered a 7 percent drop.
According to the market, this is most likely not the beginning of the end, despite the fact that the market is anything but thriving. “The Soft Drinks market has achieved substantial growth over a long period of time. Despite the severity of the present economic situation Soft Drinks markets have not collapsed or declined to the extent that some other industries have. The expectation is that the soft drinks industry will recover as, and when, economies recover,” the report said.
BJ’s Wholesale Club reports 3Q results; plans expansion
NATICK, Ma. In its third quarter company call, BJ’s Wholesale Club executives told stockholders that the company is planning for greater expansion over the course of the year than previously considered.
BJ’s will open three more stores by the close of the current fiscal year, and, the company plans to open eight new stores in fiscal 2009, the company said.
In the conference call, the company said that net sales for third quarter 2008 totaled about $2.4 billion, up13.4 percent from third quarter 2007. The hike in gas prices padded net income so the total reported for third quarter was $28.2 million, up from $22.7 million at the same time the year prior.
Same store sales, not including gas, were up 6.6 percent, total comp increase of 11.9 percent, the company said. The wholesale chain reported that food comp sales were up 11 percent. General merchandise sales were down 1 percent, the company reported.
Unilever revives luxury dessert Viennetta in time for holidays
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. Unilever Ice Cream has announced it will bring back Viennetta frozen desserts. Viennetta is a frozen vanilla or chocolate dessert cake covered in chocolate layers.
“This sophisticated, rich frozen treat is great for any home-entertaining occasion, whether you’re a guest in search of the ideal hostess gift, a hostess looking for a delicious dessert to complement the night’s meal, or a mom who simply wants to please her family,” said Ice Cream senior brand director David Burrows said in a statement. “Viennetta is the perfect holiday dessert experience, so we wanted to reintroduce the product in time for those celebrations with loved ones and friends.”
Viennetta was first released in England in 1982 and later released in the United States in 1992. It was sold through 2003, Unilever Ice Cream said.
Vanilla and triple chocolate Viennetta desserts are available at retailers across the United States from October 2008 to February 2009. Suggested retail price for a 5-ounce Viennetta cake is $2.99.