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Tax to blame for drop in UK wine sales

Tax hikes are to blame for continued declines in UK wine and spirits sales, the industry body the Wine & Spirit Trade Association has said.

Volume going down, prices going up…

According to the WSTA’s latest quarterly report, wine and spirits retail sales have fallen 3% by volume for the year and 3% in the past 12 weeks, while the on-trade shows respective declines of 3% and 2%.

Wine volumes have fallen across the board by 1% in the last 12 weeks, the report adds.

Champagne and sparkling wine offered some positive news: retail sales of sparkling wine are up 10% for the year and 7% over the last 12 weeks, and in the on-trade, volumes rose 7% for the year and 9% over the 12-week period.

Despite the overall volume decline, total alcohol prices are up 2% in the off-trade and 4% in the on-trade for the year.

The WSTA blames these rises on the Government’s automatic duty escalator, which increased duty by 5.3% in this year’s Budget.

‘While there are a small number of categories in the wine and spirit sector with modest volume growth, the overwhelming picture is one of decreased sales and increased duty rates, with consumers inevitably having to foot the bill,’ said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

‘Since the introduction of the alcohol duty escalator in 2008, duty on wine has increased by 50% and spirits by 44%, putting the sector under significant pressure.’

Written by Richard Woodard

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