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UK: Tesco silent on wine range cut talk

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UK retail giant Tesco is cutting 15% of its total wine range over the next six months, according to reports.

The new strategy is being made in a bid to protect the company's profits amid the global economic crisis and tough competition in the UK wine market, reports have suggested this week.

The retailer declined to confirm the reports when contacted by just-drinks today (19 November), however, wine category manager Andrew Carpenter said the company is reviewing its wine offer.

"At Tesco we are continually reviewing our wine offer to deliver the 'best' and most appropriate products to our customers at any particular point in time," Carpenter said. "The current economic climate dictates that we review all facets of our operations in order to continue to deliver real value to our customers."

Tesco accounts for 25% of all wine sold in the UK.

Several industry observers have suggested that the over-promotion of alcohol by UK supermarkets in the run-up to Christmas is hitting drinks companies. Speaking to just-drinks last month, Troy Christensen, the CEO of Constellation Europe, warned that the UK faced "another very hard discounting Christmas. We (Constellation Europe) recognise that, but long-term, we're trying to figure out how to get the consumer more interested in GBP5 to GBP10 wines," Christensen said. "I know the retailers would love that as well, but right now it's a battleground.

"Maybe the market's a little irrational, but markets can stay irrational a lot longer than you can stay solvent, so you have to play the game in the short-term."


Sectors: Wine

Companies: Constellation Brands

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