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WSTA confirms 2% slip in UK wine sales

Wine sales in the UK’s on and off-trade dropped by 2% this year, while on-trade alcohol sales dropped by 6%, according to an end of year report by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Sales of off-trade spirits dropped by 1% and Champagne by 2%, while a 6% drop in total alcohol sales across the on-trade was put down to a 7% fall in beer sales.

It is the fourth consecutive year that off-trade wine sales have dropped – this year by 2%.

Similarly, on-trade wine sales fell by 2% for the year and remained flat over the latest 12 week period, while spirit sales picked up slightly by 1% over the year.

Despite tough trading conditions across both the on and off-trade there were some significant spikes in growth, particularly within the on-trade sparkling wine, liqueurs and malt whisky sectors which all enjoyed double digit growth of 11%, 10% and 20% respectively.

Off-trade sparkling wine sales grew by 8% with the trend for Prosecco continuing to buoy the category, which has seen a 23% rise in sales since 2011.

On-trade Champagne Champagne sales rose by 2% while in the off-trade wine from Argentina and South Africa enjoyed sales growth of 20% and 15% respectively and imported whiskey saw a like-for-like sales increase by 9%.

The WSTA said the figures highlight another tough trading period for the wine and spirit sector and give even greater cause for the Chancellor’s recent decision to scrap the alcohol duty escalator in the recent Budget.

Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive 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 draws on data from independent sources including Nielsen, CGA Strategy and the Wilson Drinks Report.

The WSTA represents more than 340 companies which produce, import, transport and sell wines and spirits.

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