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Champagne Sales Continue to Slide

It is estimated 305m bottles of Champagne will be produced in 2013 despite falling sales
© Fotolia | It is estimated 305m bottles of Champagne will be produced in 2013 despite falling sales
Falling Champagne sales are a sign of continuing malaise in the European economy, says the sparkling wine region.

Champagne shipments have fallen by more than 3 percent in the first half of 2013, continuing last year’s decline – and it’s the European economy that is to blame.

“Champagne sales reflect the economy in France and Europe," said Thibaut le Mailloux, spokesman for the CIVC. "But this fall has been offset by rising exports overseas."

For the first six months of 2013, Champagne sales in the European Union fell by 7.1 percent in value, with domestic sales dropping 5.1 percent compared to the same period in 2012. The decline continues a downward trend: sales dwindled 6.6 percent in the first six months of 2012 against the previous year.

Although the European economy has contracted in the past 18 months, there are signs that the continent is emerging from its double-dip recession. The E.U.'s statistical office Eurostat reported on Wednesday that the eurozone’s GDP had grown slightly in the second quarter of the year.

Olli Rehn, vice president of the European Commission, suggested the figures showed that "the European economy is gradually gaining momentum."

Beyond the E.U., Champagne is enjoying growth. Non-European markets now represent 20 percent of all sales after surging upwards by 6.8 percent in the first half of the year.

“Overseas exports continue to grow at a reassuring rate, especially as these markets are fans of prestige cuvées, which allows us to maintain revenue,” explained le Mailloux.

“We are not worried; annual sales volumes remain above 300 million bottles, which is close to historical highs,” he added.

In July, the CIVC set the yield for the 2013 harvest at 10,500 kilos per hectare, equivalent to 305 million bottles.

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