Armed with new shopper and retailer insights into the all-important Christmas occasion, Pernod Ricard is urging retailers to maximise the sales opportunity by starting to plan and stock up early, helping inspire shoppers to make Christmas moments special.

James Middleton, channel director for impulse, at Pernod Ricard UK, said: “Our own research reveals that more than half of retailers leave Christmas planning until October to December, and four out of 10 retailers leave it as late as November and December to start stocking seasonal products, potentially missing out on an opportunity to inspire shoppers towards premium Christmas drinks and grab a share of early gifting sales.”

He adds: “More than a quarter of independent and symbol group retailers’ sales come from premium whiskies throughout the year, 10 per cent are from ultra-premium spirits (Cirkle Retailer Inner Cirkle Research), while premium spirits account for £1 out of every £3 spent during the festive season compared with £1 out of every £4 during the rest of the year, so there is a huge festive opportunity for retailers who can stock the right range.”

To encourage more shoppers to trade up during Christmas 2016, Pernod Ricard UK has identified a number of key moments that it believes retailers can use to excite shoppers, including:

- ‘My Christmas Dinner Moments’ – inspire customers with high end wines from leading ranges including Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate and Campo Viejo, as well as after-dinner festive digestifs such as a fine Cognac from Martell

- ‘My Christmas Get Together Moment’ – make sure you’re stocking the social drinking wines and spirts that your customers know and trust, for example Jacob’s Creek Classics, The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve or Chivas Regal 12 Year Old

- ‘My Christmas Wrapping Moment’ – offer trusted branded wines such as Campo Tempranillo for the gift wrapping occasion to get shoppers into the festive mood

- ‘My Christmas Cocktail Moment’ – make sure hero brands and serves such as a celebratory Cosmopolitan featuring Absolut vodka are clearly signposted

- ‘My Christmas Giving Moment’ – offer a range of popular gifts including seasonal gift boxes and miniature packs from favourite brands including Absolut, Malibu, Jameson, Chivas Regal Martell and The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve.

Available from November, this year will see the introduction of a new gift box for The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve (rrp £34.15); an Absolut ‘Create the Classics’ gift pack (rrp £7), which contains a miniature bottle of Absolut Raspberri, Absolut Vanilia and Absolut Citron, together with a selection of classic cocktail recipes; a Jameson and Ginger Ale gift pack (rrp £8) accompanied by a branded glass; a Malibu Pina Colada gift pack (rrp £8) with a coconut cup, and hanging tree miniature Absolut and Malibu gift packs (rrp £4) that are exclusive to the impulse channel

The advice comes as research shows that premium spirit sales grew by +12% volume and +12% value during Christmas 2015 versus total spirits growth of +2.8% volume and +4.6 % value (Nielsen, Total Grocery Spirits).