The UK arm of the international Wine and spirits group Allied Domecq announced some of its Christmas sales growth today, saying it had seen particularly strong performances in its liqueurs and Cognac portfolio.

The Caribbean rum drink Malibu was the best performing of its liqueurs brands (excluding cream) with volume and value growth of +29% and 21%*1 respectively over the 8 week period to Christmas, according to AC Nielsen data released by Allied.  The performance was set against a market that grew by only 3% in volume and 2% in value terms over the same period. Allied said the strong performance had seen Malibu overtake Southern Comfort in MAT volume terms for the first time in over 12 years.
 
"Malibu's accelerated growth is as a result of focused investment and strong partnerships with key retailers which ensured optimum pricing and maximum display over the Christmas period", said Cathryn Sleight, marketing director at ADUK.  "With a combination of a strong ongoing TV campaign, a compelling consumer offering and our exciting sponsorship of Mr Lover Lover, Shaggy, we are confident that we can further grow our position and secure the number two position in the liqueurs category."
 
Tia Lusso also faired well on a MAT basis up to the end of December growing annual volumes by nearly +2%. "Whilst the 4 and 8 week period sales volume were marginally below expectation the brands performance was credible given the whole category was flat over the same period," said Allied.

 "The cream liqueurs category remains strong with +12% annual volume growth to the end of December and Tia Lusso plays a key role in driving this forward on a year round basis.  Our focus remains firmly fixed on shedding the myth that cream liqueurs are only for Christmas and we have aggressive plans to drive consideration of Tia Lusso during spring and summer," said Sleight.

"Perhaps this year's flat Christmas period, linked to continued MAT growth, is indicative of de-seasonalisation becoming a reality?   Data evidence shows that as a percentage of annual sales the 4 and 8 week Christmas periods have declined by around 5% over three consecutive years.  Combined with overall MAT increases in sales suggests that the strategy is working and sales are occurring outside the Christmas periods," she added.  

Courvoisier saw MAT volume and value growth of 14%. Courvoisier now accounts for 45% of the Cognac category on both a volume and value basis. Alliued said that brand had
undoubtedly benefited from an extensive pre-Christmas press advertising campaign and a consumer PR programme.   

"All the evidence points to a very successful Christmas for our core focus brands with strong performances from Malibu and Courvoisier in particular.  What is rewarding is the way that we have been able to drive volume growth without sacrificing margins and the premium brand positioning that our brands enjoy in the minds of consumers.  This is a great performance and a positive reflection on both our continued investment behind our brands and the strong relationship we have with our key retail partners", said Sleight.