GrandMet bullish despite BSE scare

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The Independent Online
The effects of the latest BSE scare are continuing to hit sales at Burger King, according to an autumn trading statement from Grand Metropolitan, writes Tom Stevenson. After falling 15 per cent in April immediately after the scare, sales recovered in the following three months but are still running about 5 per cent below last year.

Slower trading at Burger King was the only cloud over GrandMet's otherwise quite bullish statement which said trading had remained broadly unchanged since the company announced half-year results in May. The shares closed down 0.5p at 475.5p.

IDV, the spirits arm whose brands include J&B whisky and Smirnoff vodka, saw better trading in the second half as increased marketing spending in 1995 fed through. Volumes are up 3 per cent in the year to date, which compares with a 1 per cent increase at Guinness, which yesterday said it was also planning an increase in marketing spend at its United Distillers subsidiary.

GrandMet also said it had restored growth in its European spirits businesses.