Distribution channel takes on higher inventories – depletions are down
Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. reported that third quarter 2006 net sales increased 4.7 percent while domestic beer shipments increased 1.1% and sales-to-retailers decreased 0.4%.
The company stated in their press release that new portfolio brands Rolling Rock, Grolsch and Tiger contributed 0.8 points of growth to both shipments and sales-to-retailers.
Year-to-date shipments-to-wholesalers increased 2.6 percent and sales-to- retailers increased 0.9 percent.
The increase in year-to-date sales-to-retailers was led by Bud Light, which grew over 4 percent. Wholesaler inventories at the end of the third quarter were just under two days higher than at the end of the third quarter 2005, which represents about 700,000 barrels according to industry analysts.
At some point over the next 3-6 months, A-B will have to adjust these distributor inventory levels. Their intention is to most likely do so gradually, in the hopes that overall shipments will increase at a similar rate.