Molson Coors full-year sales drop 8.7% as on-trade restrictions takes toll on business

US – American beverage company Molson Coors has reported an 8.7% decrease in net sales in its 2020 full-year results, as on-trade restrictions in major markets such as Europe significantly impacted volume sales.

The maker of popular beverage brands such as Coors Light, Vizzy Hard Seltzer and Cobra Beer – reported that its net sales for the year ended 31 December 2020 had declined to US$9.65 billion, a 8.7% drop when compared to the US$10.57 billion figure recorded in the prior year.

Molson Coors also registered a significant decline in operating income. The company reported an operating loss of US$408.9 million for the full-year, compared to an operating profit of US$764.4 million for the financial year ended 31 December 2019.

The company attributed the declines in revenue and profit to ongoing on-trade restrictions in several markets – particularly in Europe – due to the Covid-19 pandemic; lower financial volume; keg sales returns and other coronavirus-related costs.

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“While on-premise restrictions drove declines in the top- and bottom-line in both the fourth quarter and for the full year, we enter 2021 with improved financial flexibility and have determined to reinstate guidance for the year,” Molson Coors chief financial officer Tracey Joubert said.

Despite the fall in revenue and profit, Molson Coors president and CEO Gavin Hattersley claimed that the company’s revitalisation plan to grow ‘beyond the beer aisle’ – was ‘progressing strongly.’

Hattersley said: “The revitalisation plan we announced in October 2019 positioned our company well to weather the storms of 2020. We built on the strength of our iconic core and in the second half of 2020, we achieved a record high portion of our US portfolio in above premium products.”

In 2020, Molson Coors expanded beyond the beer aisle and set the stage to build its emerging growth division into a US$1 billion revenue business by 2023

It has since made major investments in the rapidly expanding hard seltzer segment and has ventured into new beverage categories as part of this strategy.

In December 2020, the company announced that it would increase production capacity for its Vizzy, Coors Seltzer and Blue Moon LightSky products by more than 400% at its Fort Worth and Milwaukee breweries to meet the growing demand for these products.

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Apart from launching its own beverage products, Molson coors has also entered into distribution agreements with other beverage manufactures in a bid to fulfil its goal of moving beyond the beer aisle.

In January, the company entered into a distribution agreement with a group of fitness enthusiast led by actor and retired professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to launch a new energy drink dubbed ZOA.

A few weeks later, Molson Coors entered the ready to drink beverage through a partnership with Casa Komos Beverage Group.

Though the partnership, Molson Coors will distribute Superbird, a 100% blue agave tequila-based cocktail, across markets in the United States.

Looking into 2021, Tracey Joubert says; “While uncertainty and on-premise challenges remain, particularly in Europe, we anticipate 2021 to be a year of top-line growth, as we begin to benefit from the early successes of our revitalization plan, and of investment.”

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