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Concha y Toro UK rings in bumper Christmas as supermarkets break sales records

Published:  21 January, 2019

Temperatures were unseasonably mild over Christmas, and from the latest results, it looks like things were unexpectedly cosy for UK retail.

Bucking the general trend on the high street, revenue was up at the supermarkets and for many popular wine brands towards the end of 2018.

Leading the pack was Chilean producer Concha y Toro (CyT), where value grew by 18.3% in the 12 weeks to January 5 versus the previous year (Nielsen Scantrack).

Its brands, led by Casillero, Trivento and Cono Sur, helped deliver £14.4m additional value over the 12 weeks, followed by Kingsland Drinks (£11.4m), Castella (£8.3) and E&J Gallo (£7.1).

CyT commercial director Clare Griffiths put this down to the company’s “market-leading brands” which have been “driven by substantial and continued investment”.

The brand-focused multiple sector also saw growth over Christmas.

Kantar recently reported that UK grocers enjoyed record festive spend with sales reaching £29.3 billion in the 12 weeks to December 30.

“Despite the supermarket sector growing at 1.6% – its slowest rate since March 2017 – the retailers clocked in another record-breaking Christmas as households racked up an average spend of £383 in grocery bills for the month of December,” Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said.

“Saturday 22 December proved to be the busiest shopping day of the year: more than half of all households visited one of the grocers in a last-minute Christmas dash, with 1.7 million additional customers walking through the aisles compared to the Saturday before.”

Premium own-label lines – an increasingly prominent feature of UK supermarkets’ sales mix – also increased (+3.7%).

Although growth was half that of the previous year, customers were still looking to trade up on quality for Christmas dinner food and drink, Kevitt noted.

Not all brands saw growth however.

Treasury Wine Estate, Origin Wine, Accolade and Pernod Ricard were in negative growth over the 12 weeks to January 5.

Overall, still wine grew 2.2% in value over Christmas (Nielsen).