Highland Spring hit by ‘disappointing’ £2.7m loss


Highland Spring has reported multi-million losses from the past two years as the bottled water market continued to shrink.

The drinks manufacturer made a loss of £2.7 million in 2019 after facing poor summer weather, rising material costs, market decline and withdrawing from key contracts.

Sales declined by eight per cent from 2018, when it made a profit of £520,000.

Figures from market research group Zenith showed the UK water drinks market contracted by 3.8 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

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Unaudited figures reveal Highland Spring suffered a £1.8 million loss during 2020, though it expanded its share of the bottled water sector to 14.9 per cent.

Zenith expects the market to show modest growth between 2022 and 2024 as the threat of Covid-19 recedes.

Chief commercial officer Simon Oldham admitted that 2019 had been a “disappointing” year, but argued that “initiatives put in place by the group have positively impacted performance in 2020”.

“At-home consumption has exceeded expectation during 2019, underlining the strength of the category, with consumers continuing to enjoy natural-source water at-home,” he told The Grocer.

“During 2020, the group was proud that with a modest decline of around nine million litres against a larger market decline, the brand performed well to retain and further extend its position as the UK’s number-one plain bottled water brand”.

The news comes after Highland Spring stopped short of committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

On World Environment Day earlier this month, it announced it would “work towards” halving its emissions by 2030, and had the “ambition” of reaching net-zero in the following decade.



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