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Wine sales down 2% in on and off-trade, says WSTA report

Published:  27 March, 2014

Wine is still struggling in both the on and off-trade, with sales down 2% over the last year, says the latest WSTA market report.

In the off-trade wine sales were down 2% for the year and 3% in the last 12 weeks, making this the fourth consecutive year that sales have fallen. Spirits fell 1% for the year.

In the on-trade wine sales dropped 2% too, while spirits showed a marginal improvement over the course of the year growing 1%.

Star performers include sparkling wine, which grew 8% during the year in the off-trade - it has grown 23% since 2011. It grew 11% in the on-trade.

But this growth was at the expense of Champagne, which fell by 2% in the off-trade, although its held its own with 2% growth in the on-trade.

Other positive news for the off-trade included a strong performance for imported whiskey with like-for-like sales up +9% in the last 12 months. South African and Argentinian wines grew by 15% and 20% respectively and there is a trend towards higher prices, not solely accounted for by the duty increases.  

In the on-trade total alcohol sales across pubs, bars and restaurants were down -6% for the year largely due to a -7% fall in beer sales. Sparkling wine, liqueurs and malt whisky all enjoyed double digit growth in volume sales. Malt Whisky led the charge with +20% growth for the year however performance slowed to +7% over the short term. Liqueurs also saw growth of 10% on the back of increased popularity in cocktails.  

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "The Chancellor's decision to scrap the alcohol duty escalator and freeze duty on spirits will be a welcome boost for consumers and the wine and spirits sector following years of above inflation price increases.

"Despite the tough trading conditions there is cause to be optimistic as categories such as sparkling wine and liqueurs continue to enjoy strong growth, and the move to premium products suggests that consumer confidence may be returning to the industry."    

The WSTA's market report uses data from leading independent sources including Nielsen, CGA Strategy and the Wilson Drinks Report.