Rosie Davenport
Londis is attempting to move in on the territory traditionally occupied by off-licences as it goes for a larger slice of premium wine sales.
The symbol group believes it must counter moves into convenience by the multiple off-licence specialists. It is therefore taking strides to beef up its reputation as a wine merchant.
Trading director Dean Dawson said: "If the multiple specialists want to progress their businesses they are going to include more elements of convenience retailing.
"So we are trying to copy some of the things they have been good at in the past, like selling wine. They are moving into our area and we're moving into theirs."
Londis anticipates the battle will be fought at the premium, New World end of the market, where it is adding 34 new lines priced between £5 and £10.
A further six will also join the range, which the retailer said would help illustrate that Londis stores were "no longer about selling Liebfraumilch by the gallon".
Londis said 60% of its stores stocked 160 different lines, with its newly updated wine planogram advising retailers of how to reflect changing trends.
It claimed wine sales across its stores were up 7%, compared to a 12% decline in the multiple specialists year-on-year [ACNielsen MAT Sept/Oct 2002].