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Retailers Gear Up For The Holiday Selling Season

November 23, 2022

With the holiday gift-giving season in sight, beverage alcohol retailers are stocking up amid shortages of major brands and popular gift sets. In recent days, Philippe Schaus, CEO of Moet Hennessy, which owns both Veuve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon, acknowledged in an interview with Bloomberg that pent-up demand for upscale bubblies has depleted the luxury giant’s Champagne stocks lately. Hennessy Cognac has also battled shortages the past few years following the explosion in sales of its VS variant, as well as supply chain issues.

At San Francisco-based Wine.com, December accounts for about 20% of annual sales. “While we have a strong sparkling wine interest year-round, the category, led by Champagne, always peaks for holidays,” says founder and executive vice president Michael Osborn. “Holiday average order values are a little smaller than year-around, but the average bottle price is higher. More often a customer purchases more expensive bottles, but fewer of them, for gift-giving purposes.”

“It’s showtime,” adds Mark O’Callaghan, owner of Exit 9 Wine & Liquor Warehouse in metropolitan Albany, New York. “We have a limited window. We have to do it right. November and December account for 24% of our annual dollar sales and 50% of our overall profits.”

Tequilas, Bourbons, spirits-based RTDs, national wine brands, and 3-liter box wines continue to show strong sales trends at Exit 9. “It’s really about inventory and supply chain problems,” O’Callaghan says. “We were six weeks without any Johnnie Walker. We had no Black ($44.75 a 750-ml.) or Red ($34.28 a 750-ml.). We just got some in and it’s not going to get me through the holidays. I don’t know if I’m going to get any Champagnes trickling in, especially Veuve Clicquot (Yellow Label $68.67 a 750-ml.) or Moet & Chandon (Brut Imperial $49.83 a 750-ml.). They have been on and off. My customers want the national brands.”

O’Callaghan has noticed a lack of value-added packages or gift sets with accessories, such as glassware. “I’m getting limited quantities,” he says. “More than half of the gift sets typically readily available are on allocation. Our main challenge for November and December is making sure we are communicating with our wholesalers about inventory and availability.” Market Watch has the full story.

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