M&S reports 15% rise in English sparkling wine sales last year

Marks & Spencer has reported a 15% rise in sales of its 17-strong range of English sparkling wines last year and predicts that the trend is set to continue into 2018.

The UK retailer has predicted a strong year for English sparkling in 2018 prompted by national events such as the birth of the royal baby, two royal weddings and the FIFA World Cup.

According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), M&S is not alone. Total sales in the sparkling wine category grew by 6% in UK supermarkets in the year ending September 2017.

The latest figures reveal that over £120 million bottles of fizz, worth over £850 million, were sold in British shops and supermarkets last year.

Total on- and off-trade sales amount to over 140 million bottles in the 12 months to September 2017.

Sales of sparkling wine in the UK have grown rapidly over the past five years, rising by 89% in volume and by 209% in value. While the growth rate is now starting to slow, 2017 was another record breaking year for sparkling wine sales in the UK.

Liz Williams from Marks & Spencer said: “We have seen sales of English sparkling wine go from strength to strength at M&S over the past few years and we currently sell 17 English sparkling wines across our stores. Sales of English sparkling rose 15% last year versus the previous year and we anticipate that this trend will continue in 2018, particularly in light of a royal baby, two royal weddings and a World Cup this year!

“English sparkling rosé has also been doing well, with a year on year increase of around 10% across our English pink fizz range. It’s wonderful to see M&S customers buying into locally made wines and to be supporting English winegrowers – the quality of English sparkling gets better every year and there are new producers starting out all over England so we predict a very bright future for home grown wine!”

Brewer and pub group owner Fuller’s, who replaced its house Champagne with a homegrown fizz at its 500 UK sites, reported a 50% rise in sales last year.

Meanwhile UK retailer Tesco also reported an increase in demand for English sparkling, with around a third of its regular Champagne customers switching to English fizz over in 2017.

That said, Prosecco still accounts for the majority of sparkling wine sales in the UK, with Christmas discounts on large format bottles proving popular. According to IWSR, Brits bought 85 million bottles of Prosecco in the UK last year.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: “Fizz is traditionally enjoyed by couples on Valentine’s Day, but it is clear from booming sales, over the last five years, that sparkling wine is a drink enjoyed all year round. UK consumers now have a far greater range to choose from than ever before, including world class English sparkling wines.

“To allow consumers to continue to enjoy a wide range of quality sparkling wines, the WSTA is calling on government to redress the UK’s excessively high duty rates which have helped leave Britain with the fourth most expensive alcohol prices in Europe”.

Brits pay £2.77 in tax per bottle of sparkling wine which is 28% higher than the tax for a still bottle of wine. The French pay the equivalent of 6p per bottle.

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