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Sparkling wine sales fizz in tough drinks market

Sparkling wine has once again been the star performer of the drinks market over the past year.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Sparkling wine sales fizz in tough drinks market

Sparkling wine has once again been the star performer of the drinks market over the past year.

According to the latest drinks market report by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, sales of sparkling wine rose by 8% in the past year and increased by 7% in the 12 weeks ending 1 February.

In contrast, wine sales fell by 2% in the year and by 3% in the 12 week period while spirit sales dropped 1% for the year. Champagne sales fell by 2% year-on-year in line with the trend for wine. However, wine from Argentina and South Africa enjoyed a strong boost, rising by 20% and 15% respectively for the year.

Imported whiskey continued its strong performance, boosted by promotions over the Christmas trading period, with like-for-like sales increasing by 9% in the last 12 months.

The report shows that while most wine and spirit categories continued to struggle in the year, prices increased at a much higher rate than volume sales across most categories. The study also found some evidence to suggest that shoppers are moving towards higher-priced products with premium products faring well in all categories over Christmas.

The association said tough trading in the sector validated the Chancellor’s decision to scrap the alcohol duty escalator in the recent Budget.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The Chancellor’s decision to scrap the alcohol duty escalator and freeze duty on spirits will be a welcome boost for consumers and the wine and spirits sector following years of above inflation price increases.

“Despite the tough trading conditions there is cause to be optimistic as categories such as sparkling wine and liqueurs continue to enjoy strong growth, and the move to premium products suggests that consumer confidence may be returning to the industry.”

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