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Waitrose: ‘We have never seen crémant sales this big’

Crémant is making a splash on UK retail shelves as cost-of-living pressures dampen Champagne sales.

Waitrose: 'We have never seen crémant sales this big'

Sales of crémant have overtaken Cava at Waitrose, the retailer has reported. Over the past three months sales of crémant are up by 51% compared with the same period last year.

Alexandra Mawson, Waitrose Champagne and sparkling wine buyer, told the Sunday Times: “We have never seen crémant sales as big as we are at the moment.”

Ocado also reported a spike, with sales of its M&S Crémant de Bordeaux up 47% in a year.

This is part of an overall trend for the French sparkling wine, which can only originate from eight regions in France and one in Luxembourg.

Total crémant sales have continued to grow, with a new sales record of 96 million in 2021. That year, Bourgogne sold 28m bottles of Crémant de Bourgogne – a rise of 1.7m bottles compared to the previous year.

So what is responsible for the upward trend?

Sparkling wines are continuing to find favour in a wider range of occasions. No longer are consumers just popping a bottle to celebrate the big moments — weddings, birthdays, anniversaries — but are instead choosing to pick up a bottle of fizz far more regularly.

But with a cost-of-living crisis still putting pressure on people’s purses, crémant is being seen as a good alternative to Champagne.

Waitrose’s Champagne sales are down 4%, the retailer has reported. Mawson said: “Recent pressures on household finances have allowed for the emergence of wider styles, and customers have looked to crémant as a value alternative for life’s more regular celebratory occasions.”

The year 2023 saw a reversal in Champagne’s fortunes, with a decline of 8% in volumes shipped, compared to the same 12-month period in 2022 – a bumper year for the fizz, driven by what the leading players in the region are calling post-Covid euphoria.

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