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Posted: Tuesday, November 24 2009. 14:07

UK Supermarkets make Champagne Affordable

After a bold discount scheme announced by UK’s leading supermarket Tesco and others, Morrisons has now announced discounts of up to 50% bringing  the majestic bubbly on its knees and making it affordable once again, at least for the Christmas this year.

Recession is taking its toll on the majestic aspirational bubbly Champagne. Last week the supermarket had announced its intention to feature some of the best-known Champagne names at remarkably low prices. Starting yesterday, Bollinger Special Cuvée NV has been brought down to £17.95, Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial NV to £14.39, Lanson Black Label to £13.45 and Nicolas Feuillatte at £12.99- all at 50% discount.

Said the wine buyer Walker to the drinks business who filed the story, “In these tough times many customers are looking for value, and it would be a shame to lose those customers who have come to appreciate the qualities of Champagne. A balance needs to be struck so that Champagne remains aspirational and affordable.”

Morrisons which sells more than 60 champagne labels, claims that it is more popular than ever in its stores, with sales growing by 21.1% in the last three months. This is against the national trend of falling sales of Champagne.

When asked whether the promotion was purely a retail strategy or if there had been participation from champagne houses and their agents, Walker reportedly said, ‘we work hard with our suppliers in line with our retail strategy to ensure we continue to offer our customers fantastic deals,’ implying that it had the tacit support at these price levels from the producers.

The offer comes hot on the heels of a number of strong Champagne discount initiatives in UK supermarkets, many of which will last up until and throughout the Christmas period. At Sainsbury’s you can pick up a bottle of Lanson Black label for £ 15 a bottle, for instance.

Tesco is offering a Heidsieck Monopole Silver Top for £ 20 whereas Piper Heidsieck is even a pound less. Besserat de Bellfon is reduced to £15 while the lowest priced Lee Deviroy is priced at only £12. The Tesco private labels are naturally priced at an attractive price of £16 for the Brut while the more expensive and popular Rosé variant has been reduced to £19. All prices include the import duty of over £2 and VAT at 15%.

Even award-winning independent merchant Roberson is selling cut-price Champagne for one week only. To celebrate its 18th birthday, the fine wine store is selling Veuve Borodin Champagne NV at £13.95 a bottle, the same price as when it first opened for business in 1991, according to db.

It is time for the local British readers to stock up and the Indian travelers to UK to pick up 3 bottles (2.25 liters- customs allow 2 liters, so 3 bottles should be ok) from the supermarkets- compare with the profit-heavy duty free shops! You may be able to get the VAT refunded too-check it out.

However, it is highly unlikely that there will be any reduction in the Indian retail shops even if the importers are able to get discounts from their principals. In order to popularize champagne, most of them offer it to the 5-star hotels duty free at cut-throat prices and as delWine advises, the best way to enjoy champagne is to have the unlimited quantity at a Sunday brunch which costs around Rs.2300-2700 in most 5-star hotels.

       

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