The chain is trying out different ways of merchandising wine in two different branches. In Kirkstall, Leeds, wines are being ranged by style, while in St Albans, Herts, they are organised by price.
BWS category director Steve Mosey told OLN both trials had seen double-digit growth, way ahead of figures from control stores.
“In the current climate more than ever before people have a budget and that is their primary concern. The two trials are both delivering strong double-digit growth in the category, which is fantastic,” he said.
“The biggest challenge for BWS is how we get people to buy from the range rather than just promotional packs. People are getting ever more deal-savvy and you can’t simply sit there and say you want to sell this deal.
“We should aspire to add excitement back into the category and make it easy for customers to make those choices.”
Other initiatives include a touchscreen drinks selector which lets shoppers search by country of origin, food match or taste profile, and which gives information about the products they might choose. It is currently in four shops but is expected to be rolled out more widely.
Morrisons is also merchandising by style in some beer aisles, and is giving world beers and premium bottled ales food-matching signage.
It is trialling dedicated features for premium wines, dessert wines, malt whisky and world beers to drive consumers’ interest.
Mosey has been leading the BWS team since September, having previously headed its category review section.
In the past he has worked for Heineken and its previous incarnation as Scottish & Newcastle. He was in charge of the company’s cider brands when Magners reignited the market in 2005, and was responsible for the launches of Bulmers Original and Jacques.