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Published:  23 July, 2008

Cockburn's is still the number-one Port in the UK market by value, following a revision in AC Nielsen's Scantrack Impulse figures. Earlier this year Harpers reported that Taylor's is the off-trade leader' (Harpers, 23 January) after AC Nielsen put Taylor's almost 3% ahead of Cockburn's by value. Reworked AC Nielsen figures from the MAT period ending 27 December 2003 show Cockburn's owning 23.6% value share, almost 1.5% ahead of its nearest rival,' said Nick Marshall, brand manager for the Allied Domecq-owned Port. Andrew Hawes, deputy managing director of Mentzendorff, Taylor's UK distributor, conceded ownership of the number-one spot and said the problem arose because certain promotions run in Somerfield and Safeway registered as full-price sales in AC Nielsen data. We were aware of this at the time, but AC Nielsen assured me that even when the figures were adjusted we would still be number one. They have somewhat sheepishly confirmed that they were wrong,' said Hawes. Marshall also launched a somewhat barbed attack on excessive discounting, as undertaken by some of our competitors, which confuses the customer and will lead to the downgrading of the product.' Hawes added: What is important is that Port is currently very healthy in a declining fortified market and we need to work hard to keep it that way.'