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BWS retail sales decline in December 2021

Published:  05 January, 2022

Overall retail sales of beers, wines and spirits fell in the month of December, when benchmarked against Christmas 2020, though spending remained higher than it was pre-pandemic.

According to new data from Kantar, alcohol sales were down by 2.9% in December 2021, compared to the same period last year.

There was one notable category that bucked the trend; sales of sparkling wine rose by 6.8% over the four weeks to 26 December.

Though the figures appear initially somewhat disappointing for the drinks trade, the reduction in spending followed 2020, which was a blockbuster year for retail. 

Take-home grocery sales still reached £31.7 billion over the 12 weeks to 26 December 2021, just shy of 2020's record-breaking period. 

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “People seized the chance to enjoy Christmas with friends and family after last year’s muted festivities, and grocery sales hit £11.7 billion over the month of December alone. This lofty spend figure is down just 0.2% on record 2020 sales when several areas faced restrictions and the data suggests that while there weren’t formal rules in place across the UK this year, many people celebrated at home again due to Omicron.”

He added: “Premium own-label sales broke records this Christmas and shoppers spent £627 million on supermarket private labels in the four weeks to 26 December, an increase of 6.8% versus 2020. Sparkling and still wine sales grew 22% and 18% respectively, while crisps surged by 31%.”