An aggressive battle for share of the Champagne market is bubbling up as Christmas approaches.
Champagne producers and retailers plan to take advantage of consumers trading up by positioning brands as luxury prestige items for the festive season, with the majority of investment going into gifting options with high price tags.
Laurent-Perrier launched its Grand Siècle prestige gift box last month, containing two crystal Champagne glasses, an ice bucket and a bottle of Champagne, priced at £99.99. Head of marketing Daniel Brennan said the producer had recorded strong sales this year, particularly in its premium options, such as Grand Siècle and Vintage. Also this month, Mumm launched its £85 Voyager kit - which includes a luxury canvas and leather bag - to maintain its image as an adventurous brand.
Others have given their brands a new look. Champagne Pommery has revamped its 20cl Pop bottles with the launch of Pop Gold, presented in a gold bottle for £10.99, while Moët & Chandon has introduced its latest limited edition crystallised collection, created with retailer Swarovski. A 75cl bottle in the collection will cost £35.99.
Champagne Lanson is also joining in the Christmas battle with the launch of its 1997 Vintage Gold Label, which will sell through Sainsbury's, Tesco and Majestic at £29.99, and the half-bottle version of its Black Label, which will be priced at £12.99 exclusively in Sainsbury's.
Retailers are also geared up for a battle. Sainsbury's extended its Taste the Difference range this month with a flagship vintage Champagne, the Premier Cru 2000 Blanc de Blancs at £22.99. Meanwhile, cash & carry retailer Booker is relaunching its Champagne category with new additions and competitive prices, such as £10 off for the Dom Pérignon 1998 Vintage.
"Champagne is a high-margin category that offers an opportunity for our customers to increase profits," said retail director Steve Fox.