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Pernod Ricard calls for premium wine and spirits push in impulse for Christmas 2014

Published:  21 August, 2014

Pernod Ricard UK is aiming to cash in on millions of pounds of lost sales in premium wines and spirits in the impulse sector this Christmas by helping retailers encourage customers to trade up.

The wine and spirits group, which owns brands including Jameson whiskey, Absolut vodka and Campo Viejo wines, has identified a £13 million opportunity for premium spirits and additional "multi-million pound gains" for wine over £6.50 for Christmas 2014.  

Last year the firm saw premium wine sales grow 2% by value and spirits grow 2.7%, while volumes held steady. It is now offering retailers a five-step guide on how to maximise premium wine and spirit sales this Christmas.

"There have been great performances by premium wines and spirits over the last few years, but we believe there have still been missed sales opportunities," said Pernod Ricard UK off-trade channel director Chris Shead.

The group is planning to help out with premium wine price-marked packs, miniature selections of premium spirits, decoration and gift packs as well as branded premium tumbler and glass giveaways.

Premium spirits account for £1 in every £5 spent on spirits in the off-trade year round or £1 in £4 during the festive period. In the last week of Christmas it hits £1 in £3. Since Christmas 2009, premium spirits have grown from 16.4% to 18.3% last year. But Pernod insists this "still represents a significant under-trade compared with the multiple grocers", where premium offerings grabbed a 30% share of spirits sales during Christmas 2013, a rise of £95 million since 2009.

"To put this in perspective, creating a 30% share for premium spirits in impulse would equate to £13 million of incremental sales, so the opportunity is massive," Shead said, adding that premium vodka, and Scotch whiskies represented the biggest opportunities.

Pernod Ricard's advises convenience retailers to ensure premium offerings are visible and available in store, make the Christmas occasion special with POS and drinks ideas, keep it simple and make it easy to browse and drive gifting by offering packs and gift bags. Making sure plenty of Champagne and sparkling wine are available is also key.

As for wine, impulse is the star performer at Christmas, and outperforms multiple grocery in rate of sale by two to one. Impulse sales of premium wine in the £6.50+ price band account for £1 in every £2 spent on wine through the impulse channel at Christmas, compared with £1 in every £3 the rest of the year. Pernod predicts this will rise further, as premium wines grew by 16% or £32 million in impulse at Christmas 2013 versus the previous year, while wines under £5 fell by 7% or £23.5 million.