Convenience stores snatch market share

05 April, 2013

Growth in wines sales through convenience stores is outpacing the rest of the off-trade as the roll-out of supermarkets’ smaller store formats gathers speed and cash-strapped shoppers shun the big weekly shop.

According to the latest Nielsen data, convenience stores – classified as shops smaller than 3,000sq ft – have seen sales surge by 3.4% to £1.6 billion (MAT to February 2), compared with a 1.3% value growth in the overall off-trade to £5.3 billion.

The data was commissioned by Treasury Wine Estates, and its head of customer marketing, Shaun Heyes, said: “The convenience format is the fastest-growing part of the off- trade. It’s growing because of the way people shop. In this economic climate top-up shops are increasingly frequent.

“Rather than just doing one big shop at the start of the week, people do a smaller shop and top it up throughout the week.”

Nielsen figures show the average bottle price for wine in the convenience channel is £5.60, compared to the overall off-trade average price of £5.

Heyes said: “In convenience the shopper is not spending much time when they come in – it’s almost grab and go. You have to help them do that. You want to give them a nice range and the opportunity to spend a little bit of money.

“Convenience shoppers might spend a different amount on a bottle for themselves than if they are going round to a mate’s who is cooking.

“Our message to retailers in this ever-changing environment is: have a balanced range.”

He believes the middle ground will continue to be squeezed as sales of wines below £5 drop and sales above £6 continue to rise.

“People are buying on value or treating themselves – you see that with clothing and everything else as well as drinks,” he said.

“Retailers need to be cognisant of that – they need to have the right range to meet shoppers’ requirements. There’s a significant over-reliance on £5 and less. Don’t get rid of all of them, but you equally need to think about £6, £7, £8, £9.

“Look at the number of varieties you stock. Don’t just have 10 Chardonnays. Take some off and put in a Pinot Grigio and a Sauvignon Blanc.

“Is your fixture easy to look at, easy to navigate? Is price well-communicated?”

Heyes believes further growth in the convenience channel will come if retailers make the most of fridge space. “A high percentage of alcohol is drunk within a short time window, so a good chilled offering is important.”




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Richard Hemming MW asks: what’s the next step for indies?

In the not-too-distant future, when all humans are born with inbuilt VR headsets and Trump is Supreme Commander of the Known Universe, how will students of wine look back on the present era of retail in the UK? And, in such a dystopian world, why would anyone care?

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