MillerCoors Slips in 4th Qtr.

Sales to retailers down 2.3% but Blue Moon once again shows strong gains

Overall MillerCoors sales to retailers fell 2.3% the fourth quarter compared to same period last year. Sales to wholesalers fell 4.3% as distributors cut back their inventory levels.

Net sales increased 3.1% to $1.74 billion amid strong price hikes, helping push gross margin up to 31.9% from 30.2%.

Volume slid 4.4% to 16.1 million barrels. Five out of the company’s six priority brands increased sales to retailers during the period, with Blue Moon and Keystone Light delivering double-digit growth. Coors Light increased 1%, posting its 14th consecutive quarter of growth.

“While the U.S. beer category softened in the fourth quarter, we increased pricing and net revenue to deliver strong profit growth,” said MillerCoors Chief Executive Leo Kiely.