Retailers are missing out on a £13m sales opportunity by failing to get shoppers to trade up to premium spirits, according to Pernod Ricard.

The drinks company said retailers were failing to make the most of premium wines and spirits in store, despite a strong trend of premium spirits and wine outperforming the standard market.

Premium offerings triggered a 2% rise in value sales of wine in 2013, and a 2.7% rise in spirits across impulse, it said, while sales of wine priced £6.50 or above grew 27% year-on-year across grocery.

Premium spirits also enjoyed a festive sales spike, rising 5% in the 12-week Christmas period last year, it said, adding £49m to the overall BWS category [Nielsen Scantrack 12 weeks to 4 January 2014].

UK off-trade channel director Chris Shead said although the multiples accounted for around 82% of premium-wine off-trade sales during Christmas, there was a significant under-trade in grocery compared to impulse.

“Grocery is driving the price message at the expense of premium, but there is an opportunity to balance that out,” he said.

Retailers need to take advantage of the ‘treating’ mindset of consumers over Christmas, Shead said, by ensuring premium wines and spirts were highly visible in store and by adopting a “more festive environment” in the BWS aisle. He said retailers needed to make it easier for consumers by merchandising by price. They needed to send a more co-ordinated message across online, large stores and convenience formats, he added.

Other areas included boosting the choice of gifting and fizz, Shead said, which accounted for 7.7% of drinks sales in the 12-week Christmas period. He also challenged the space given to beer sales in favour of premium spirts. 

“Premium wine and spirits will offer retailers the best opportunities to grow sales within impulse and convenience this Christmas,” he said.

Pernod Ricard is rolling out new gifting boxes of its Campo Viejo Gran Reserva wines from the middle of next month.