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Wine Intelligence predicts 15% ‘Covid-19' hole in on-trade sales

Published:  11 March, 2020

Wine Intelligence has predicted that UK on-trade premises are likely to see a hole in revenues to the tune of around 15% as a result of Covid-19. 

While supermarkets will "do just fine", on-premise, hotels and events companies will have a hole in their revenues – somewhere around 15% of their annual sales – which won’t be made up in this calendar year", said Wine Intelligence in a report released today. 

“Although on the surface it feels like there isn’t much dramatic change - London’s Tube is still packed at rush hour, and hardly anyone seems to be wearing masks - but we’re hearing from on-premise that bookings are down on normal for the time of year, and events businesses are getting particularly nervous as clients are deferring decisions until the last minute,” said Richard Halstead, chief operating officer, Wine Intelligence

With news seeming to move so fast, "it feels a lot easier to defer rather than decide", he added. 

Simon Lawson, general manager, Casella Family Brands (Europe), UK, said: “We haven’t seen anything change from a retail sales perspective as yet, but we have already seen a drop off in Travel Retail (ferries, airports). 

“Supply has been rather lumpy as shipping lines have had to adapt their schedules to China and Singapore port closures. Looking ahead I’d say that the UK on-trade is in for a tough time, clearly festival volumes are up in the air and in retail I’d expect local small stores to do well.”  

So far, the government is resisting imposing restrictions on the public but this is likely to change soon as the virus continues to spread far and wide within the UK, and across the globe. 

It is understood that medical experts are expecting the peak of infections in the UK in about six to eight  weeks’ time, at which point restrictions may start to be lifted.

At the beginning of this week, Harpers reported how Haro - the spiritual home of quality Rioja producers, has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak as residents of the town in the heart of the wine region were told to stay at home.