Magazine article Marketing

IDV Freezes Smirnoff as Downturn Bites Spirits

Magazine article Marketing

IDV Freezes Smirnoff as Downturn Bites Spirits

Article excerpt

Manufacturers and retailers' pricing policies are thrown into chaos by recession

IDV freezes Smirnoff as downturn bites spirits

The UK's biggest vodka Smirnoff is to suffer an unprecedented price freeze this year -- the latest sign of the premium spirits market's mauling at the hands of the recession.

It is the latest blow to an industry which has coped with a world decline in consumption by coaxing drinkers to trade up to more pricey premium brands.

Parent International Distillers and Vintners (IDV) will waive a traditional 5% January rise, losing it almost 50p per bottle on the recommended retail price of 9.69 [pounds].

"People have become more cost-aware," says Barry Pickersgill, managing director of IDV subsidiary Gilbey Vintners.

"You have to be realistic about your price increases."

Just before Christmas United Distillers rocked the industry by cutting the price of a bottle of Bell's whisky below the psychologically important 10 [pounds] barrier. The rest of the market promptly followed suit, though Distillers now says prices will rise again next month in an effort to "upgrade the market". …

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