Alcoholic drinks sales soar thanks to heatwave and summer of sport

BWS was the star performer in the grocery channel this summer as the summer heatwave and England’s fine World Cup run provided a welcome shot in the arm.

Supermarket sales grew 3.6% in the 12 weeks to July 15, 2018, the day of the World Cup final between France and Croatia.

Kantar said alcohol emerged as the clear winner and that the positive trend should continue as there is no end in sight to the glorious weather.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “England may not have won the World Cup, but its journey to the semi-finals not only helped to kickstart the summer, but supermarket sales to boot.

“Over the past month, football-frenzied customers visited supermarkets an extra 13 million times as they hurried to stock up on World Cup-viewing essentials, with alcohol in particular the stand-out winner.

“Christmas and Easter aside, the week that the England football team played both Colombia and Sweden saw more spent on alcohol than ever before, a colossal £287 million.”

Tesco sold almost 50 million bottles and cans of beer and close to a million bottles of wine in the first week of July. The World Cup collided with Wimbledon, and Waitrose reported that sales of Pimm’s were up 21% compared with the same week in 2017. It added that sales of sparkling wine were up by 45% and beer rose by 70%.

Westons Cider said May and June were two of the three best months for trading in its history, and it expects July to break all records.

The British Beer & Pub Association reported that Brits sank an extra 10 million pints during England’s World Cup semi-final clash, part of a huge sales spike throughout the month.

The majority of drinks retailers are confident of strong sales growth in 2018 after enjoying a sales spike this summer.

Seventy-one percent of the 200 retailers we surveyed said they have enjoyed a sales boost over the past few weeks. Lager, cider, gin, rosé, bubbly and craft beer have all been flying off the shelves as Brits have tried to stay cool during the month of sport.

A further 75% said they believe their sales in 2018 will now outstrip 2017, while 15% said they will be flat and just 10% anticipated a decline. The off-trade enjoyed strong growth in 2017, so an improvement on that would represent a fine result amid challenging economic conditions.

Andrew Hill of Hills News in Durham said: “It’s been crazy busy. Premium lagers, ciders, soft drinks, water, tonics and squash have been selling well. Compared to this time last year overall sales are up 15-20% weekly.”

Lucy Driver, owner of South Downs Cellars in Sussex, said: “The uplift in summer sales should hopefully make up for the loss of sales between January and April. White and rosé wine, gin and craft beer have been selling well due to the summer heatwave.”

Sales are also surging in Scotland, where the masses are unlikely to be cheering on Gareth Southgate’s men with much relish.

David Henderson of Henderson Wines in Edinburgh said: “Business just seems more brisk overall. We have seen a busier than usual start to July – beer sales in particular. Rosé wines have been very popular but chilled beers from the fridges are very steady.”

Bryan Craig from the Crianlarich Store Londis in Perthshire said: “We feel that sales in 2018 will outstrip 2017, but related more to weather than to World Cup!”

Greg Sherwood MW at Handford Wines in London added: “For the summer retail period yes [we will outperform 2017], but turnover, no, due to a stagnant Bordeaux en primeur 2017 campaign compared to 2016.”

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