Retailers need to take a more imaginative approach to wine

14 June, 2007

Foster's boss slams 'shameful' presentation that makes shopping an ordeal

The wine trade should be embarrassed about how poorly it presents its products to consumers, according to a senior industry figure.

Neil Barker, commercial director of Foster's EMEA, which supplies Rosemount, Lindemans and Penfolds, said retailers needed to think harder about the range of occasions

on which wine was consumed and not take a one-size-fits-all approach.

"Four out of 10 shoppers say shopping for wine is an ordeal. Seven in 10 say it is, at best, confusing. That's a shameful scorecard for all of us," he told the Drinksummit conference organised by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors last week.

"It's surprising that we hear so many convenience retailers telling us they can't sell anything over £4 or outside the three-for-£10 mechanic.

"The key to success in the category is simple. Cater for a variety of occasions and a range of price points. An increasing number of progressive retailers and wholesalers get this

and put it into action.

"The results speak for themselves," he added.

Barker warned that retailers frequently had too few SKUs which were squeezed into low-end price points.

But many independents already understand how to achieve a price premium on Australian and Chilean wine - so they can apply the same principles to France, according to Nielsen.

Wines from Australia and Chile are, on average, £1 more expensive in the independent sector, senior client manager Peter Reynolds said

and, with pressure mounting on Australian prices, French premium wine represents a big opportunity.

Overall, independents are under-trading on wine and Reynolds said that by catching up with the rest of the market the sector would achieve £157 million in extra sales.

He encouraged retailers to get behind smaller, less well-known wines, to run tastings, to find new local themes for promotions and to occasionally promote wine at full retail price.

Foster's is re-branding its 9 per cent Early Harvest wine as Lindemans Early Harvest.

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