Mixed picture for Christmas drinks sales
Retailers are reporting a mixed picture for pre-Christmas wine sales with a general trading down in spend while volume sales held up. Fine wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd estimated that business was down 25-30% in value, despite the merchant's most successful web promotion ever which attracted 550 orders within its first hour. Despite the rise in orders average spend was down by more than 50%.
Another fine wine merchant John Armit held its winter sale early, and said business was 'definitely slower' than last year, but was nonetheless holding up fairly well.
Bath-based Great Western Wine, said the picture was 'mixed' – with trade at about the same level as in 2007 and web sales contributing more than they did last year. Fine wine sales were not as buoyant and the corporate gift business had been disappointing.
Meanwhile Waitrose said customers were sticking with well-known, reliable brands and playing safe with Champagne, Chablis, Rioja and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The company said year-to-date Champagne sales were up 10.5% and the average spend per bottle had risen from £5.85 before March to around £6.00 in the autumn.