Prosecco emerged as the wine favourite among shoppers in the UK at Christmas, with soaring sales of the Italian sparkler reported by Majestic, Waitrose and Tesco.
Prosecco: ‘soaring sales’
Tesco said sales of Prosecco in 2012 were likely to be double those in 2011, while Waitrose wine buying manager Ken Mackay reported it as ‘the biggest seller by far’ in a 23% sales surge for sparkling wine over the Christmas period.
Majestic chief executive Steve Lewis told Decanter.com that sales of Prosecco had soared by 55% by value in the last seven weeks of 2012, while Champagne sales were flat and overall sparkling wine sales rose 22%.
Majestic reported overall sales up 5.1% over the same period, with like-for-like sales rising 1.1% – broadly in line with the company’s performance over the rest of the year to date.
Lewis described the Christmas trading period as ‘challenging’, as many consumers delayed their shopping until the last minute – but added that this simplified the planning of stock and staffing levels.
Online sales, which rose 15% to account for 10% of Majestic’s turnover, were now ‘absolutely critical’, he said: ‘Without online clearly we wouldn’t be performing as well as we are.’
Volumes of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc continued to be ‘extraordinary’, Lewis added, with Marisco-owned brand The Ned set to sell more than 1m bottles in this financial year.
Other big sellers included Argentinian Malbec priced at £6-12 a bottle, and French regions including the Loire, Rhone, Beaujolais and Languedoc, which Lewis attributed to ‘younger consumers discovering France for the first time’.
Meanwhile, Waitrose had its strongest fortnight’s trading ever in the last two weeks of the year, with English sparkling wine seeing an 80% sales spike, said Mackay.
However, supermarket rival Morrisons had a disappointing Christmas – like-for-like sales fell 2.5% in the six weeks to 30 December – but said it had sold 407,000 litres of Champagne, 18.5m litres of wine and 734,000 bottles of brandy in the two months to Christmas Eve.
Tesco will announce detailed Christmas trading figures this week.
Written by Richard Woodard