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Overall alcohol sales continue to fall

Published:  21 June, 2013

The duty escalator continues to hit the drinks trade, according to the latest Wine & Spirit Trade Association market report, as overall alcohol sales continue to fall.


The WSTA report showed volume sales in the off-trade were down 3% for the year and 3% in the past 12 weeks, and on-trade sales were down 3% for the year and 2% in the past 12 weeks.


When it came to wine, the report showed volume sales in both the on and off-trades were down by 1% in the past 12 weeks, and spirit sales for the year were down by 2% in the off-trade and level in the on-trade.


The report also revealed that overall alcohol prices for the year were up by 2% in the off-trade and 4% in the on-trade - due largely to the impact of the duty escalator, which saw duty on wine and spirits increased by a further 5.3% in this year's Budget.


The report also highlighted positive growth in the sparkling wine category in the off-trade, up 10% for the year and 7% for the past 12 weeks. In spirits in the off-trade, however, rum was the only category to show growth, up 4% for the year.


Sparkling wine also enjoyed growth in the on-trade, with Champagne up 7% by volume for the past 12 weeks, while the sparkling wine category enjoyed 9% growth.


Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "While there are a small number of categories in the wine and spirit sector with modest volume growth, the overwhelming picture is one of decreased sales and increased duty rates, with consumers inevitably having to foot the bill.


"Since the introduction of the alcohol duty escalator in 2008, duty on wine has increased by 50% and spirits by 44%, putting the sector under significant pressure."