Booze sales trickling along this festive season

December 10 2011 at 02:19pm

Alcohol retailers in Durban are experiencing mixed fortunes this festive season as the consumption of expensive liquor dwindles in some areas.

“Our high-end expensive items are not selling as well as they did last year, and our expensive whiskeys, Champagnes and wines are moving slowly, but, if you look at the rand value, we are doing far better than we were doing last year,” said Mervyn Govender, Liberty Liquors on Argyle manager.

“People are buying less expensive alcohol, but they are certainly spending on alcohol.

“Gift packs are flying off the shelves, but I think people just buy it for themselves.”

Liberty Liquors has also extended its working hours. It will now be open at 8.30am and close at 6pm for the remainder of the holidays.

The most popular items, according to Govender, are Bell’s whisky, JC Le Roux sparkling wine, Smirnoff vodka, Skyy vodka, Hunters Dry, Savanna and Castle Lite beer.

Meanwhile, at Ultra Liquors in the Tollgate area, whisky seems to be back on the agenda of alcohol consumers this December and stockists say it has been flying off the shelves since the beginning of the summer months.

“We have entered into the silly season now. People want to spoil themselves, and premium and gift-packaged drinks are extremely popular,” said an employee.

He expects people to flood into the liquor store from December 15.

“Right now our fastest seller is Chivas Regal whisky. It comes in a gift set with two free glasses in the package,” he says.

Other whisky selling well is the Johnnie Walker range, with the reasonably priced Red and Black labels selling for R134.99 and R229.99 respectively, and the Blue Label selling steadily at R1 399.

Champagne consumption, which had soared since Kenny Kunene’s Champagne-bathing exploits on national TV, is selling surprisingly slowly,.

“Champagne is not really selling fast, but when they do buy, it is usually Mo√ęt & Chandon or Veuve Cliquot, which sell at R399,” he said.

And at Makro in Rossburgh, good old Smirnoff 1818 is still a winner.

Other vodkas selling well there are Skyy vodka (at R149) and Gray Goose (at R259), but their biggest seller is still Smirnoff, which people buy all year round, said a salesman.

He said people were already buying alcohol in quantity, but could not say which was selling more, premium or low-end alcohol. - Independent on Saturday

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