From wine and spirits daily, a daily industry blast that is stock full of information.
"In the current economy, it seems like every news story is preoccupied with doom and gloom, but we prefer to look on the positive side. We’ll give you the statistics first, and then apply it to our own industry. As is widely reported, consumers weren’t spending money over the holidays, which prompted retail sales to fall for the sixth straight month in December. In fact, the National Retail Federation reported Wednesday that 2008 holiday sales for the combined November-December months fell -2.8%. Chances of an upswing in 2009 seem unlikely right now.
"This current situation is a reflection of a tough, tough environment," said chief economist with the International Council of Shopping Centers, Michael Niemira. "Consumers are buying only essential items. Credit restraints have really impacted sales of big ticket purchases."
However, other economists say the gloomy messages are overblown. Food and beverage sales dropped -1.4% while grocery stores logged a -1.3% sales drop in December. True, the numbers aren’t great, but food and beverages are doing considerably better than the overall retail environment. The wine and spirits industry is also proving much more resilient than other industries, with dollar sales of spirits growing 2.7% in the 52 weeks to November and wine up 4.5%, according to IRI food and drug scan data. We think as wine and especially spirits companies put more emphasis on advertising in the off-premise, they will continue to grow and compensate for a shift away from bars and restaurants."