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Champagne exports hit by UK downturn

Published:  08 February, 2009

Global Champagne sales fell by 4.8% last year, partly due to falling demand in the UK and US.

Although some of the declines were compensated for by growth in emerging markets like Russia and China, volumes were down from 338 million bottles in 2007 to 322 million - 1 million above the 2006 figure.

In Britain, Nielsen said that Champagne sales increased by 4% in 2008 but volumes were static.

CIVC President Ghislain de Montgolfier said 2008 had followed two years of "excessively strong growth" and admitted that Champagne's fortunes were in the hands of the financial system. "We depend on the economy. We are not able to make any sort of forecast," he told Reuters.

But he added that a 2% annual growth rate for the next 12 years would be a realistic objective.

"The crisis will be over in 2012 and as we have three years' stocks, the decisions we make today are for 2012," he said.