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Kantar: inflation down but sparkling wine price creeps up from October’s low

UK inflation has continued to fall this month, and increased promotional activity is boosting sale – but the price of sparkling wine appears to have crept up, the latest figures from Kantar have shown. 

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Inflation continued to drop for, down to 9.1%, although as Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, pointed out, this still remains “well above the norm”. Last month was the first month it dipped below 10%, after 16 months of double digit growth.

Sales grew by 6.3% over the four weeks to 26 November 2023 to £11.7 billion, as retailers battled to offer value and keep prices low.

“In a sign of just how fierce the contest is between the grocers, the cost of a Christmas dinner for four has risen well below the overall inflation rate this year at 1.3%, as some items on our festive plate have actually fallen in price,” he pointed out.

Sparkling wine is one of the items that’s fallen in price from last year, dropping 5.9% since 2022, to just over £7.01. However, this is slightly more than the price last month, when the average price paid for a standard bottle of sparkling wine was  £6.86, down from £7.46 in August (a drop of 8%).  This comes despite a deep round of discounting on Champagne in the UK supermarkets, as db reported last week. Sales of Champagne slowed dramatically in the middle of the year, down 17.7% in volume terms to the end of September, but the run-up to Christmas typically accounts for more than 40% of annual sales on the French fizz, and consumers tend to buy on average 10% more items across the grocery category in this run-up to Christmas compare to a typical month.

Spending on promotions hit its highest level in over two years in the latest four week period at 28.4%, McKevitt noted, and although the amount of money spent on deals usually leaps in the run up to Christmas, “this year is already looking a bit different”.

“We’re well above 2022 levels, with customers making an additional £180 million in savings this November versus 12 months ago,” he said. “Brands have benefited from the boost in offers and have now edged ahead of their own-label counterparts, growing sales by 6.5% versus 6.4% for retailer lines.  However, own-label is still doing incredibly well and premium lines especially so.  These products are up by 15.4% year on year, with wine, chilled ready meals and fresh beef among the big winners last month.”

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