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Nielsen: Xmas off-trade sales 'lacklustre'

Published:  13 January, 2012

Festive sales in the off-trade were "lacklustre", with volumes slightly down across the board, but sparkling wine pulled off an "astounding" 17% increase, said Nielsen.

Nielsen's Stewart Blunt said light wine sales were flat; beer and cider up 1%; spirits, fortified and perry down by 5%; and RTDs stood still.

"Despite everything going on in the theatre of retail, including lots of short-term offers, the pressures are downward," said Blunt.
Sparkling wine, classed separately from Champagne, was "the most exciting performer", with a 17% boost in the four weeks to Christmas.

Champagne volume sales grew 1% over Christmas, and Blunt said consumers had the "aspiration to celebrate, but with economy in mind".

He said Old World wine "is doing quite nicely" and picked out Italy and Spain as putting in strong festive performances. Spain was up 13% in the four weeks, and 11% over the year.

For an in-depth looko at how the UK drinks trade performed over the festive period, see this week's issue of Harpers