Retailers urged to wean themselves off discounts

13 February, 2014

Brands that have not had much exposure to discounting can help retailers push up the average price of a bottle of wine and shake off reliance on promotions, according to a leading supplier.

Australia’s fourth-largest producer, McWilliam’s, has appointed Stevens Garnier to distribute brands including Evans & Tate, Brand's Laira, Mount Pleasant and Barwang in the UK and the range will be relaunched at the London Wine Fair.

Barwang retails at £7.99 and is new to the UK market, and McWilliam’s believes it can help supermarkets change their philosophies.

James Roberts, sales director at McWilliam’s, which sells around 400,000 cases in the UK each year, told OLN: “Retailers have got challenges in their retail model.

“There is going to be a more premium nature to Australian wines. The marketplace is changing so it will be less heavily discounted and brands with heritage and provenance are going to do well.

“Supermarkets will need to change their philosophy over time.

“The biggest challenge is educating a wide proportion of the population that it goes beyond £5 a bottle. I suspect some of these brands we are bringing into the market resonate with the challenges they have.

“It’s an opportunity to introduce brands that haven’t had exposure to discounting before.”

Roberts feels supermarkets have known for a long time they need to decrease reliance on discounts, but the time is ripe to put an end to them.

“Like any sort of drug it’s difficult to wean yourself off something that works so well,” he said. 

Stevens Garnier’s agency manager Daniel Hart added: “If you want something with integrity and a regional style from Australia you have to pay £7.99 and above. It’s the sustainable thing to us.

“If you want wine at £5 a bottle you aren’t going to get real Australia. You have got to pay closer to £10 a bottle. We are one of the only markets in the world that sells wine at the low price we do.

“I have heard big retailers saying they need to get away from discounts.

“You can sell 60% of the volume at a higher price and still make the same profit, but you have to have something with integrity to give consumers a reason to buy it.

“The style and quality of the wine is the most important thing. That’s why we are delighted to be working with McWilliam’s because they deliver value for money and they all have a style at all the different price points.”

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