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FRANCE: Champagne sales lose fizz in 2008

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The head of France's Champagne house union has called for calm after news that sales volumes have fallen by 2.4% for the first nine months of 2008.

Sales fell to 195,000 bottles, the first nine-month decline since 2000, according to trade body, UMC (l'Union des Maisons de Champagne). Value sales remained relatively stable.

"In no way does this send the alarm bells ringing," UMC director David Chatillon told just-drinks today (1 December).

"These figures need to be put into perspective in the sense that 2007 was an absolute record for sales volumes and such levels just simply can't be sustained  given the production capacity constraints the sector works under."

Some distributors, he added, have delayed new orders in favour of running down stocks, while emerging markets, such as China, have continued to grow strongly.

He said that the final quarter, which accounts for 40% of global sales, looks "reasonably good."


Sectors: Wine

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