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UK rosé sales slow down in ‘worrying’ trend

Sales of the once super-fashionable rosé have stalled in the UK, latest statistics show.

Supermarkets, which sell 83 out of every 100 bottles sold in the UK market, have seen a significant fall in rosé sales in the last year, the annual Wine and Spirit Trade Association conference in London heard yesterday.

The amount of bottles sold increased just 1% compared to 13% a year earlier.

Inflation has led to the net price of rosé increasing by just 4% compared to 17% a year earlier, according to the latest figures from market analysts Nielsen.

Nielsen’s Stewart Blunt suggested the slowdown in sales of rosé, which since the heatwave summer of 2003 have been on a seemingly unstoppable upward curve, indicated a worrying trend.

‘The market for rosé has slowed down but people are not switching their preference to red or white wine. The economic downturn has had an effect on all wine sales, which is worrying.’

Overall, wine sales have seen a 3% increase in net price but a 1% decline in the number of bottles sold.

Average bottle prices have risen 15p to £4.44, but Blunt said this did not necessarily reflect rising duty levels.

In the on-trade, there had been a rise in rosé sales but this was not the case with other wines, market researchers CGA said. They reported an 8% increase in rosé wines sold by the glass or by bottle in pubs and bars in the year to June 2010, but a decline in sales of red and white wines.

‘This indicates people are spending less or “pre-loading” before they come out,’ Alison Powell of CGA said, referring to consumers drinking as much discounted alcohol from retailers as possible in order to spend less on more expensive drinks in bars and pubs.

Richard Halstead of analysts Wine Intelligence, said people ‘are caring less’ about wine than they were three years ago, and consuming it less often.

He warned that retailers and suppliers needed to move beyond price as a reason to buy.

Written by Shirley Kumar

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