Imports from France fell but the value increased as shoppers wanted a better quality sparkling wine for home entertaining
Britons bought fewer bottles of champagne last year but splashed out on more expensive varieties, according to official figures. The number of bottles of champagne shipped from France to the UK – by far the largest export market – fell by 6.1% to 32.4m last year, but the value edged up by 0.5% to €470 m (£411 m).
The industry’s trade body – the Champagne Bureau – which represents 14,000 growers and “houses” in Francesaid the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in summer 2012 helped lift sales, as did the London Olympic Games and Lanson’s sponsorship of Wimbledon. The figures were published the day after champagne bought in pubs and bars was removed from the Office for National Statistics’ so-called ‘inflation’ basket.
Pierpaolo Petrassi, head of wine, beer and spirits buying at Waitrose, said sales of fizz to be drunk at home were holding up well: “Champagne sales are doing very well. For the last 12 weeks, compared to the same in 2012, Champagne volume sales are up 23%, while sparkling wine is up 17%. Shoppers are still buying champagne and sparkling wine, but to entertain at home, as they offer better value than in bars and restaurants.”
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