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M&S launches “midweek” wines

Marks & Spencer has launched a range of 50cl wines in response to consumer demand for smaller measures.

With many consumers complaining that the standard 75cl bottles remain unfinished midweek, M&S has responded with an 11-strong range of 50cl own label wines, which include a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Fleurie, Sancerre and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The range – the largest 50cl offering on the high street – also gives consumers the chance to trade up on quality without having to pay more.

“This new size bottle will enable customers to experiment with different styles. It’s all about quality rather than quantity,” M&S wine trading manager Andrew Bird told the drinks business.

“Our 25cl range has done so well, but we wanted to fill the gap between 25cl and 75cl. A 75cl bottle is too much midweek. Women told us they ended up getting squiffy after a few glasses. We figured we’d rather sell wine at 50cl than no wine at all to midweek drinkers,” said Bird.

“I’m confident that in introducing this new range, sales of our 75cl bottles won’t be affected. It’s early days, but they haven’t affected sales of the same wines in the 75cl measure,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bird spoke of the recent surge in online wine sales at M&S: “Online sales now account for 10% of our total wine sales and they’re growing all the time.

“We’ve launched a TripAdvisor-style online forum on our website where customers can rate our wines, ask questions about them, and have other customers reply.

“We don’t police the comments. If you host a forum you’ve got to do it with credibility and take what people throw at you. If we didn’t publish the full spectrum of comments we’d be talked about.”

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