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SWEDEN: First fall in wine sales for a decade

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Sweden's monopoly retailer, Systembolaget, is facing the first downturn in wine sales for over a decade, according to the latest figures released by the company.
 
Wine sales from the nine months from January to September 2004 show a decrease of 1.5%, from 100.3m litres to 98.6m following ten years of consistent growth at 5-10%. The fall seems to be consistent across the board, with both whites and reds equally affected at ­1.4 and ­1.9% respectively.

Reds still make up 60% of the market.

The fall is being blamed on changes in trading patterns following duty cuts over the last two years, rather than an actual fall in consumption. Norway cut its duty two years ago, resulting in a decrease in cross-border travellers into Sweden, while Finland and Denmark's decision to halve their spirit duty earlier this year has seen an increase in the number of Swedes travelling abroad on "booze cruises".

Most have been travelling to buy spirits, which are significantly cheaper, but tend to buy wine as well.

"At the start of 2004 sales were still increasing," said a spokesman for the Systembolaget. "But after spring, sales were down a bit. We expect them to be a bit lower than in 2003 because of the border traffic."


Sectors: Wine

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