The latest figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association show shop sales of wine down 3% by volume in the 12 months to 26 November and down 4% over the last quarter.
Sales by value are are up 3% for the year, but analysis attributes this substantially to the combined impact of increases in excise duty and VAT, the WSTA says.
The WSTA’s Market Report draws on data from leading independent sources including Nielsen and CGA Strategy, with analysis by Tim Wilson, author of the Wilson Drinks Report.
At the same time, sales of sparkling wine are up by 2%. Other drinks such as cider and spirits are also performing well.
In pubs, bars and restaurants wine sales were down 6% in volume while sparkling wines were up 2%. Both sectors have increased in value, with wine up by 9% and sparkling up by 8%
WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles forecast a gloomy future for the drinks trade.
‘All the signs point to consumers cutting back on spending and any growth in value is largely down to the impact of this year’s tax increases,’ he said.
‘While some categories, including sparkling wine, are bucking the trend, the prospect of a further above inflation tax increase in March, amidst gloomy economic forecasts, offers little joy for consumers or the trade.’
Few of the major UK retailers were willing to respond to Decanter.com at this stage of their Christmas campaigns: both Majestic and Tesco said they were unable to comment.