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Lidl's £12m France promotion sets tone for wine department

Published:  12 August, 2014

Lidl's upcoming £12 million Bordeaux-focused wine promotion is to set the tone for the retailer's future wine strategy.

Senior buying manager Ben Hulme, who heads up the wine category, said the 48-strong French range will take space from other categories as "the whole business gets behind it". Lidl has also invested heavily in new wooden crate merchandising which will be used permanently.

LidlLidl is upping its wine focus with its latest promotionLidl will offer a 48-strong range of Bordeaux wines, in addition to its usual 60 products, in store from September 4.

"We are putting a lot behind this as we believe in the quality and value of the wines. The managing director is massively personally behind it, and sanctioned increasing [merchandising] bays to house the 48 extra wines," Hulme told 

"We always had around 60 wines - and look to cover all bases as best we can. We wanted to move into fine wines - we're not known for that as most of our range is priced between £4 and £5," he said.

In autumn 2012 it added eight lines of more premium wines, and pushed them in-store and in its brochures. Based on this success, it now runs a 'wine cellar' promotion every quarter, and brings in parcels of specially selected wines. It has also grown the size of its wine promotions from eight to 24 - the latest will include 48 wines - its biggest to date. It has sourced between 10,000 to 50,000 bottles of each line and the promotion will run in all of its 600 stores in Great Britain and 40 in Northern Ireland. Lidl forecasts the promotion will sell out within 10 to 12 weeks, when its next promotion will arrive.

"France is a good place to start, and Bordeaux is the most famous region of all," Hulme said. The retailer has spent £12 million on this campaign, which covers sourcing the wine, marketing materials and new wooden merchandising crates for each store. Aside from Bordeaux wines, the retailer will be selling wines from a number of regions including Loire Valley, Languedoc, Burgundy and more. 

The idea behind expanding the range is to offer more choice to existing customers, as well as attract new ones. "If we're going to buy in fine wines - they will be at great prices - but they will be more expensive than our existing range, so we have to educate and inform customers. We still do have a perfectly good assortment of wines between £4 and £5, so we can show customers a way to trade up to something they've not done before. We want to establish ourselves as retailers of great value fine wine, if that's attractive to new customers then great."

To help spread the word, the group is publishing 8 million 40-page brochures on the special wine range, written by Jamie Goode with material from Richard Bampfield MW, which will be inserted into national newspapers, plus about 1.3 million copies of its in-store leaflet. There will be shelf-talkers for every wine, including a score, weight rating and tasting note. There will also be TV advertising and a small book on wine for every shop floor member of staff.

"We're conscious wine can be intimidating and we want to explain what we're doing," Hulme added.

The cheapest wine on offer will be a Côtes de Gascogne at £4.99, with the most expensive a Sociando Mallet 2008 at £25.99. The average price of the range will be £8 to £10, double that of the standard range. The promotion kicks off on September 4. amended this article on August 14, 2014, at 14.19 following a clarification that the promotion is not exclusively focused on Bordeaux, but includes wines from across France.