Volume sales fall during tough Christmas trading conditions

10 January, 2013

Nielsen has revealed dismal Christmas trading figures that show total liquor sales were down 6.1% in volume on the previous year in the off-trade.

It analysed drinks retailers’ performance in the 12 weeks to December 29 and revealed that value sales were flat – with a 0% growth compared to the same period in 2011.

But when you take into account the higher duty rate and VAT changes, value sales were effectively down 1.2%.

Analyst Helen Stares said: “Where there were weekly growths year-on-year, these were modest, and it was only the final week where there was a significant increase compared with last year, due to a different number of trading days.”

Less alcohol was sold on promotion than the previous Christmas – down from 64% to 56.4%.

High street and convenience stores grew around 0.5% in value, while out-of-town stores were down 0.3%, despite accounting for the greatest share in sales.

Champagne took one of the biggest hits, down 9.1% in value and 9.6% in volume on the previous Christmas.

But sparkling wine, driven by the performance of Prosecco, was up 8.3% in value and 7.4% in volume during the festive season.

Light wines also gained value over the Christmas period, up 1.4%, although volume was down 1.6%. 

The winner among the wine-producing nations was Spain, up 25.2% in value and 27% in volume – by far the strongest performance of the top 10 wine exporting countries.

Spirits are performing ahead of total liquor, gaining 1.7% in value, but still down 3.5% in volume.

Spirits are now worth 27.7% of the off-trade drinks market.

The average price of a litre of spirits has noq tipped the £18 mark, up 5.4% from Christmas 2011. 

In the week that ended on December 22, 9.3 million litres of spirits were sold,  accounting for 4.7% of annual volume.

Meanwhile beer was down 3.1% in value and 8.5% in volume, cider was down 1.5% in value and 7.2% in volume and RTDs were down 11.3% in value and 16.4% in volume.

Bookmark this

Site Search


English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

Click for more »
Upcoming events


Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know