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Early Christmas trading brings mixed fortunes to retailers

Published:  23 December, 2016

M&S, Co-Op, Tesco and Morrisons are the early winners in the battle for supermarket festive wine sales, according to Nielsen's latest scan track data

M&S, Co-Op, Tesco and Morrisons are the early winners in the battle for supermarket festive wine sales, according to Nielsen's latest scan track data.

While total market figures for the last eight weeks show an overall marginal decline of 0.6%, the pendulum of sales swings dramatically from retailer to retailer, with M&S showing a massive growth of 37.6%, whilst Sainsburys has suffered a 17.8% decline.

The M&S wine performance is particularly impressive against an overall 2.9% total grocery growth, echoing the work and innovation that the wine buying team has brought to the range this year, as well as the benefits of the focus on expanding the 'Simply Food' franchise.

The Co-Op is also showing dramatic growth, at an early stage of Christmas trading, posting increases of 12.7% for wine sales against 4.2% company average.

"I'm delighted with the early trading results," commented Simon Cairns, BWS Trading Manager.

"We are totally focussed on the convenience model and, as such, we benefit from last minute trading, but to see these figures at the early stage is great news for us. It proves that all the work that we've done this year, in terms of re-ranging, getting the right wines, to the right stores, for each customer demographic, and building the gifting element of the mix, is working well."

Following their back to back win of Wine Supermarket of the Year at the International Wine Challenge and a major re-investment by the business into the wine category, Morrisons is showing a 4.6% growth in wine, against a total 2% company decline. (these figures will still be affected by the company's small store disposals last year.)

"The recognition we have received for our work on wine has resonated strongly with the board. There has been massive re-investment in the wine category this year, both in terms of re-merchandising and customer messaging in store, and also now with wine as the lead in our Christmas TV campaigns." stated Mark Jarman, Morrisons senior product sourcing manager.

"Our advertising campaign says it all - we're no longer just about value, we are totally focussed on a quality wine offering, at every level, delivering at each price point, and as a result of this, we are bringing in new customers to our business, who are looking for great quality, and award-winning wine, at the right price."

Tesco's wine performance is also buoyant, reflecting the implementation of the last 12 months' strategy across the business, showing a strong 7.1% growth for wine against total 1.7% business growth. Aldi wine sales continue its positive climb, with +3.8% growth, while Waitrose and Lidl showed +0.9% and +0.5% for wine respectively, against positive overall figures of +1.6% and +2.1% for each business.

Losers in the early stages of Christmas trading are Sainsbury's and Asda, both showing marginal declines in overall grocery trading figures, but higher deterioration of performance in the wine category.