Summer goods manufacturers, particularly in the drinks sector, have suffered from poor sales this summer as a direct result of the unseasonal weather across Europe. Both Pimm's and soft drink maker Nichols have seen demand drop this summer and the weather is also causing the Russians to drink less beer. However, with autumn approaching manufacturers will be hoping to increase sales of cold weather products.

UK soft drinks manufacturer Nichols, which counts Sunkist and Vimto amongst its brands, has seen its pre-tax profits drop from £1.74m (US$m) to £1.65m in the first half of the year. The chairman John Nichols attributes this to "the appalling weather".

Meanwhile, sales of quintessential British summer tipple Pimm's are at a 14 year low, and Sainsbury's has noted that sherry, which usually experiences its strongest sales in winter, has increased sales by 65% since July.

Every year, summer brings a program of outdoor activities. Picnics, barbecues, sporting events, all of these offer food and drinks manufacturers an important opportunity to increase sales.

This yearly seasonal boost is especially significant for soft drinks, beer and wine; manufacturers and retailers eagerly anticipate the summer. Only this year, it wasn't to be: Europe has experienced one of the wettest summers for a century, as painfully illustrated by the floods in Central Europe.

The problem is not only prevalent in the UK, where rainy summers are common. In Russia, sales of beer are dramatically lower than expected for the time of year. Traditionally, beer is not regarded as an alcoholic beverage in Russia it's a refreshing drink for a hot day.

Summer is when Western brewers trying to penetrate the Russian market - such as Scottish & Newcastle and Heineken, which have a 25% share of the market through their joint ownership of market leader Baltika - expect sales to pick up. But the miserable summer has caused them disappointment on this front.

But it's not all bad news: hot weather isn't the only seasonal change to influence consumer behavior. Manufacturers now have the autumn and winter to look forward to, which will hopefully increase sales of cold weather goods such as ales and chocolate to counteract Seasonal Affective Disorder - except of course if the fall turns out to be sunny.

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