Treats, gifts and small wonders

HIGHLIGHTING premium spirits and making the best of spirits in fractionally sized bottles should be two of the most important drinks retailing priorities in c-stores over the festive season in 2016, according to drinks giant Diageo.

James Cragg, Diageo GB head of category development, said: “The Christmas trading period is the key event in retail sales – last Christmas the spirits category grew by £77m, faster than any other total beverage alcohol category.

Fractionally sized bottles, such as 35cl and 20cl have been responsible for 70% of all impulse channel spirits growth, says Diageo.

“For the off-trade, the top 10 brands deliver 46% of spirits category sales in the Christmas period. 39% of annual premium spirits sales are in the 12 weeks to Christmas, so it’s a great time to emphasise premium products in store.”

His colleague Claire Kendall, category development manager stressed the importance of smaller bottles in the convenience channel.

Diageo reckons retailers should get Baileys and other potential gift spirits “out from behind the counter” .

“Fractionals are the life blood of the impulse channel driving 70% of all spirits growth as they provide consumers with the choice to buy a specific bottle size to suit their chosen occasion,” she said.

“Stocking a range of smaller SKUs that have lower price points helps shoppers to buy into the category over the Christmas period and is a simple way to meet the needs of more shoppers with 69% of alcohol sales coming from shoppers spending £10 or less.

“22% of convenience spirits shoppers say that smaller pack format options are the most important factor to them when selecting products in store.”

She also stressed the opportunities to sell premium spirits to shoppers looking for gifts saying research suggested one in 10 shoppers for gifts purchase alcohol, and highlighted Haig Club and Baileys as strong gift lines. Retailers should get such products “out from behind the counter to allow quick and easy access”, she said.