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Sparkling wine and spirits drive UK sales

The UK’s off-trade saw value sales rise by 0.7% this summer, boosted by sparkling wine and spirits, while disappointing weather was blamed for a 12% drop in beer and cider.

According to the latest figures from Nielsen detailing the 12-week summer trading period to 15 August, spirits and sparkling wine showed the biggest growth, with vodka and gin the star performers.

Overall, spirits sales grew in value by 5% compared to the same period last summer, with vodka up by 4% to £9.9 million and gin up 9% to £7.6m. Malt Scotch, non-cream liqueurs and American whiskey all saw double digit growth.

Growth came primarily from branded products with Smirnoff up by £5.7m, Russian Standard up by £4.7m, Gordons gin up by £1.4m and Bombay Sapphire up by £1.2m.

“Price is relatively stable across spirits, however the category has been boosted by receiving more in-store display space in grocers, up 20% on summer 2014, with spirits likely gaining from beer and cider, which saw a 12% reduction”, the report noted.

This was attributed to “disappointing weather” and the absence of any major events, compared to last year when sales were boosted by the football World Cup in Brazil. Lager was hit the hardest with sales down 4% to £18m, however premium lager enjoyed a 1% rise in value sales.

Cider sales were down by 6%, although flavoured cider is still in growth achieving a 4% increase on last year. Ale saw positive growth of 4%, primarily through premium bottles brands.

Meanwhile sales of sparkling wine stood out as the clear winner in the wine category, increasing its sales value by 23% topping £157m in the 12 weeks to 15 August.

In comparison sales of light wine and Champagne which declined by 1%. By style, sales of rosé wine dipped by 7% and white by 1.5%, while sales of red wine were up by 1.8%.

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