Volume sales fall during tough Christmas trading conditions

10 January, 2013

Nielsen has revealed dismal Christmas trading figures that show total liquor sales were down 6.1% in volume on the previous year in the off-trade.

It analysed drinks retailers’ performance in the 12 weeks to December 29 and revealed that value sales were flat – with a 0% growth compared to the same period in 2011.

But when you take into account the higher duty rate and VAT changes, value sales were effectively down 1.2%.

Analyst Helen Stares said: “Where there were weekly growths year-on-year, these were modest, and it was only the final week where there was a significant increase compared with last year, due to a different number of trading days.”

Less alcohol was sold on promotion than the previous Christmas – down from 64% to 56.4%.

High street and convenience stores grew around 0.5% in value, while out-of-town stores were down 0.3%, despite accounting for the greatest share in sales.

Champagne took one of the biggest hits, down 9.1% in value and 9.6% in volume on the previous Christmas.

But sparkling wine, driven by the performance of Prosecco, was up 8.3% in value and 7.4% in volume during the festive season.

Light wines also gained value over the Christmas period, up 1.4%, although volume was down 1.6%. 

The winner among the wine-producing nations was Spain, up 25.2% in value and 27% in volume – by far the strongest performance of the top 10 wine exporting countries.

Spirits are performing ahead of total liquor, gaining 1.7% in value, but still down 3.5% in volume.

Spirits are now worth 27.7% of the off-trade drinks market.

The average price of a litre of spirits has noq tipped the £18 mark, up 5.4% from Christmas 2011. 

In the week that ended on December 22, 9.3 million litres of spirits were sold,  accounting for 4.7% of annual volume.

Meanwhile beer was down 3.1% in value and 8.5% in volume, cider was down 1.5% in value and 7.2% in volume and RTDs were down 11.3% in value and 16.4% in volume.




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