A DISASTROUS CHRISTMAS price promotion was blamed for plummeting profits at Hereford-based H P Bulmer, Britain's largest cider maker. Pre-tax profit fell from £29.3m to £18.9 million for the years ended 30 April, due mainly to two factors: a failed attempt to raise the prices of white cider and a massive cost over-run on a pre-Christmas promotion for flagship brand Strongbow: twelve-packs normally retailing at £8.99 were on-offer for only £4.99. Yet someone in Bulmer's marketing department had overlooked the fact that this 44% price slash might - just possibly, with a little luck and a following wind, all else being equal - actually lead to a teensy increase in sales! The company is not revealing how many millions this minor oversight cost - nor whether any senior heads have rolled as a result!