Carlsberg's UK Beer Volumes Declined 3% In 2012, Despite The Summer Of Sport

Carlsberg, the fourth largest brewer in the world, has blamed a 3% reduction in British sales on the wash-out summer of 2012, which cancelled out the boost from Euro 2012 football and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The 3% drop mirrored results across Western Europe, with bad weather and increased costs blamed by the brewer. Pressures on consumer spending were also blamed, along with the consumer trend away from drinking beer in Europe.

Carlsberg is also losing marketshare in British supermarkets - but outside of the large stores it is doing better - Carlsberg managed to increase its UK market share to 15.3% because of a "particularly good performance" in pubs, bars and restaurants, according to its report.

The government taking measures to reduce drinking is also affecting Russia, one of its key markets. Carlsberg has just over 38% of the Russian beer market.

Results were so poor that Carlsberg was on Monday forced to admit it would scrap its 20% operating target.

In a statement it said: "The margin targets have proved difficult to use as internal and external performance targets, as several events, both within and beyond our control, have and will continue to impact margins - such as costs related to the supply chain integration and business standardisation project as well as a volatile input cost environment, especially in Eastern Europe."

As with many of its rivals, it now plans to focus on premium beer brands including Carlsberg, Tuborg, Kronenbourg 1664 and Grimbergen and its cider brand Somersby.

It will also roll out a low-alcohol citrus beer in May - announced just weeks after Heineken revealed it would offer a citrus low-alcohol product Radler.