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Retailers Champagne sales soar

Off-trade sales of Champagne are rocketing as consumers return to the category and sales figures stretch into double-digits.

Total Champagne sales at Sainsbury’s are up 40% according to the supermarket – the strongest ever year for the category.

As reported in the drinks business’ forthcoming issue, Champagne would appear to be enjoying a revival among consumers in the wake of the financial downturn.

This suggestion is further strengthened by LVMH’s recent first half results, which showed revenue growth of 21% and increased sales of prestige brands such as Krug and Dom Pérignon.

Market analyst Nielsen reported recently that the Champagne sector in the UK is in double-digit growth at 13%, with more than two million extra bottles sold MAT in the year to 15 May 2010.

Sainsbury’s accounted for 1.23m of these bottles, meaning six out of every 10 of these additional bottles sold in the last 12 months came from a shelf in the multiple grocer.

Furthermore, Nielsen announced that of the top six best-selling brands, two were exclusive to Sainsbury’s – Etienne Dumont and Charles Lafitte.

Daniel Bracegirdle, Sainsbury’s Champagne buyer, said: “Amazingly, the total Champagne market has grown by 13% in the last year and Sainsbury’s has been responsible for 60% of that growth.

“We think this is partly driven by a new tribe of ’Champagne Surfers’ who research expert reviews and price details on the internet and the results are leading them to us.

“They’re not swayed by the big brand names and demand great value as well as taste. For this group, Champagne is fast becoming the affordable luxury they won’t do without. We are thrilled that we can compete with the well known Champagne houses when it comes to quality and price.”

Rupert Millar, 23.08.2010

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