The Co-op’s beer and cider sales grew by 21% year on year over the past nine weeks, attributed to the World Cup and heatwave. 

Sarah-Jane Wilson, category buyer for beers, told DRN: “We have outperformed the market, which is absolutely amazing for us. What really helped drive it was the ‘Bud and pizza’ deal, which was a huge success. We sold 520,000 of these deals. 

“Two pizzas and a four-pack of Budweiser were £10.58 and we were selling ours for £5, so it was an amazing deal. We led the way with that – no-one else seemed to be doing anything football meal-deal related at that time.  

“During the World Cup Budweiser, as the sponsor, grew its share of the beer market and our year-to-date market share with Budweiser is now 14.7% (up 4%), which is a huge achievement in that short time. 

“When England played Columbia it was our best sales week and we did £10.2 million. We sold 800 units of beer every minute, which is crazy amounts. Our lead product is Stella Artois and we sold 7.2 million pints of it during the last nine weeks. 

“Key areas we concentrated on were world beers, craft beers and kegs and we positioned these in seasonal spaces in our stores. We got a lot of incremental sales here and this worked really well for us over the summer.”

Richard Dennett, senior buyer for beers, spirits and ciders, added: “We actually grew our market share in beer and cider to 11.5% of the off-trade from 10%. If you consider that the Co-op’s grocery market share is 6% it shows we are massively overtrading in this category, which reflects the exceptional work the team is doing.”

Wilson confirmed that the Co-op would introduce more deals along the Bud and pizza lines in the future. 

She said: “The business has realised how successful the meal deal was and we proved that we could work across categories with people in various departments getting on board to make it work. We have demonstrated that if we all get behind it and the media, then we can do wonderful things. Next year we would definitely like to repeat the meal deal but we will also be looking at other meals and drinks, including soft drinks or wine. 

“We want to make sure the offer is available to all – not just fans of pizza and beer. We will repeat it but we will add to it. I think we implemented it really well.”

Dennett added: “We made it the primary focus of our World Cup campaign, so it ran across TV and billboards and newspapers. We spent close to £3 million on above-the-line support, which is a huge investment, but it did work. In addition we noticed it wasn’t just people cherry-picking the deal, it also grew basket spends.”