Despite slowing sales in their main markets, Bacardi-Martini believes RTDs are here to stay.

The company, which owns the Bacardi Breezer brand, has just completed a series of annual reviews with some of the biggest on and off-trade names across the UK. The reviews led the company to conclude that, almost unequivocally, these retailers are as eager as ever to stock RTDs, but they have to be the right ones.  Moreover, they are markedly increasing space and ranging of a select number of brands.

Across the entire trade, operators are overhauling their fridge offerings and consolidating their ranges down to those they are consistently asked for by consumers. Specifically, this covers brands that they consider will be around for the long term and which receive heavyweight communication support from the brand owners and are not simply traded on price.

The situation is consistent across both the on- and off-trade. Ian Webb, group marketing director at Yates, said : "We're supporting the brands that still make an effort in innovation: brands such as Bacardi Breezer with its new Diet Lemon product, which should attract new consumers into the category, especially post-Christmas."

Glen Payne, a category buyer for Safeway supermarkets, said: "We know from experience that the bigger the brand, the greater the sales, particularly at the peak selling periods. Therefore, this year we will be allocating increased space to those brands with the biggest market penetration and relevance to RTD consumers - Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice."

According to Nielsen figures, Bacardi Breezer continues to be the number one brand in the UK off-trade market and is number two in the on-trade and off-trade combined.