Brits planning to toast their loved ones on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day face paying more for their bubbly in the mults.
The average shelf price of champagne and sparkling wine SKUs is up 22p year on year across Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose - an increase of 1% [Edge by Ascential 52 w/e 29 January 2020]. Price rises have hit more than 40 SKUs.
Waitrose is responsible for the greatest average increase of 92p. Over the past 52 weeks, it has raised the price of several 750ml bottles. Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne 2006 is up from £130 to £140, while Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Champagne is £15 pricer at £195. Waitrose has also raised the price of Moët & Chandon Ice Imperial Champagne by £4.99 to £49.99 and own-label Blanc De Noirs Champagne from £22.99 to £23.99.
Elsewhere in the big supermarkets, Tesco has increased the price of six own-label SKUs, with 750ml bottles of Premium Blanc de Blancs and Premium Cremant de Limoux Rose Sparkling both up by £1 to £26 and £12 respectively.
Asda has seen the most raises. Around 20 champagne and sparkling wines are dearer in the grocer - from 750ml Extra Special Premium Asti Sparkling Wine (up £1 to £7) to Bollinger Rosé Champagne Brut (now £50 from £48).
Bucking the pricing trend, Sainsbury’s average shelf price across fizz is down by 2p. However, it has upped the cost of a small number of SKUs, including 750ml bottles of Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry Cava and Freixenet Cordon Negro Rosado Brut de Noirs. They recently increased to £11 from £10 a year ago - but are currently on promotion at £7.50.
“The cost of individual products is determined by a number of factors and prices can fluctuate, both up and down, as a consequence,” says a Sainsbury’s spokesman. “We remain committed to providing our customers with great quality and value every time they shop with us.”
A spokeswoman for Freixenet says in spite of the brand being subject to some price increases in grocery, “the majority of our SKUs have either maintained their average price or decreased year on year”.
Price increases in the mults for fizz come “as no surprise” claims Miles Beale, CEO of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association. “A typical sparkling wine is hit by the highest level of duty per unit of any alcohol, with £2.86 plus VAT going to the taxman every time you buy a bottle of fizz - almost a third higher than still wine duty,” he says.
But in spite of the price rises, Speciality Drinks buyer Dawn Davies believes posher bubbly may still be able to cash in. “People seem to be happy to pay a bit more - but for quality, and are not buying volume in the same way as they were before,” she says. “So, there is an opportunity in the premium sector of the market to capitalise.”