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Wine sales rise ‘dramatically’ as UK copes being locked down

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Wine sales in supermarkets, off-licences and online have risen sharply as consumers seek to enjoy a drink at home during the lockdown, a leading UK producer has reported.

Kent-based Chapel Down said the sales spike was on course to more than make up for the loss in trade elsewhere – with pubs, theatres and other venues closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, the company’s beer and cider lines are more reliant on bar sales and it has temporarily closed its brewery, as well as visitor sites in Ashford and Tenterden.

Chapel Down said in a trading statement: “Following the government’s advice to close pubs, theatres and hospitality venues to contain the spread of the virus, we have seen our sales in supermarkets and off licences grow substantially and our on-line sales multiply dramatically as customers seek to continue to enjoy our brands at home.

“It is too early to extrapolate any trends but if the current sales rate continued the off-trade sales and on-line growth of our wines would more than make up for the loss of on-trade wine sales.

“It will certainly leave us with a stronger business and an increased market share in these areas where we see long term growth.”

Chief executive Frazer Thompson said the business was facing “challenging times” but added: “I believe we are in a very strong position to weather the crisis.

The company said that all staff furloughed as parts of the business are closed would receive 80% of pay.

Meanwhile, the board, executive and senior managers have taken salary cuts of 20% to 40%.

The update from Chapel Down comes a day after supermarket industry figures showed a surge in consumer demand, with UK shoppers spending an extra £1.9bn stockpiling groceries in the run-up to the coronavirus lockdown.



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