Cott loss widens in year

by Staff
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TORONTO — Partly the result of lower volume sales and the impact of foreign exchange translation, Cott. Corp. posted a loss for the year ended Dec. 27, 2008, of $123.9 million, which compared with a loss of $71.4 million during the previous year.

Revenue for the year was $1,648.1 million, down 7% from $1,776.4 million during the previous year.

"We are glad to put 2008 behind us," said David Gibbons, Cott’s chairman. "We are now starting to see the positive results of our efforts to refocus on our private label customers in North America, the engine of our business. I believe we are healthier today than we have been in the recent past. While the overall category continued to decline in the U.S., market share for our customers in the U.S. Nielsen grocery channels increased 1.2 percentage points during the fourth quarter."

For the fourth quarter Cott suffered a loss of $13.2 million compared with a loss of $75.1 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the quarter was $371.4 million, down 10% from $413.2 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

"Year-over-year volume growth in the U.S. for the fourth quarter was a positive way to end the year," said Jerry Fowden, chief executive officer. "Retailers are strengthening their private label programs as consumers look to stretch their shopping dollars. We will continue to support our retailers’ efforts to grow private label market share."

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