We faced an unprecedented impact on our results last year and as such we consider comparisons to results before the impact of Covid-19 to be a useful indicator of the underlying performance of the business. This report will therefore show 2019/20 numbers in addition to the customary year-on-year comparisons.
The strength of the rebound in our results this year has surpassed our expectations and has been delivered despite the continuing challenges of Covid restrictions and supply chain interruptions. Our people deserve enormous credit for the part that every one of them have played in delivering these outstanding results.
Our sustained levels of high brand investment, the return of consumers to on-trade settings and the positioning of the majority of our brands in the faster growing ultra-premium category has driven exceptional demand for our brands this year.
Our core revenue grew by 45% and our core contribution by 53% on the previous year but the most important metric is that our core contribution is now 28% higher than our pre-pandemic results for the year to March 2020. This means that our results are now higher than the plan that we set ourselves pre-Covid for the year to March 2022 and we have recovered all of the lost ground from last year.
During the year we returned to normalised levels of distillery production, capital expenditure and pension scheme contributions along with the reinstatement of the annual dividend policies. Despite these additional cash outflows our strong underlying performance resulted in an increased free cashflow and improved debt ratios.
Group Financial Performance (reported on a constant currency basis)
Core revenue grew to £821.2m, up 45% on the prior year, with strong growth across all our business units as we benefited from the reopening of the on-trade and travel retail. It is testament to our premiumisation strategy that our core revenue per case grew by 28% in the year as a result of an improved product and channel mix, excellent commercial execution, and consumer price rises. Our core revenue is now 22% higher than our pre-covid year to March 2020.
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