Champagne's second biggest business, Vranken-Pommery Monopole, registered a 5% fall in Champagne sales last year - further evidence of a decline across the sector.
The company, which owns Pommery, Vranken and Heidsieck Monopole, said it had maintained its leadership position in France, in spite of what it called an ‘erratic’ market characterised by widespread discounts.
‘In France, the group opted to maintain the quality position of the Vranken-Pommery Monopole brands, rather than following the pricing policy adopted by a number of its competitors, and this weighed on its turnover in the retail sector,’ the company said.
Meanwhile, sales improved in other countries, such as Japan and the US, it added.
Vranken-Pommery Monopole’s turnover for 2012 fell 4% in total to €326.1m, with Champagne sales down 4.7% to €268.5m and sales of other wines (including Sable de Camargue and Provence) almost flat at €57.6m.
However, the company said it expected profits from 2012 to remain stable, thanks to better sales of higher-margin products.
And it is poised to increase its focus on premium Champagnes during 2013, launching Vranken’s Millesimes d’Or, plus the new Pommery Apanage Prestige Vintage this year.
Champagne sales are widely expected to have fallen during 2012, with some commentators forecasting a decline of about 3%.
Written by Richard Woodard