Nicolas Feuillatte reveals UK plans

Nicolas Feuillatte has launched new packaging for the UK market as it bids to boost off-trade sales and make inroads into the on-trade. 

The third biggest Champagne brand in the world is mainly distributed in the retail trade in Britain, and it aims to drive increased sales in the stores that stock it.

Managing director Christophe Juarez told DRN: “We want to increase our presence in international markets and, of course, the UK is a key market.

“We are mainly distributed through the off-trade. Our challenge for the future is to fix the on-trade distribution for Nicolas Feuillatte. We have decided to split our range in two, one for the on-trade and one for the off-trade.

“The new packaging for the off-trade is more upmarket. It is rolling out in the supermarkets. There will be separate blendings for the two ranges.”

A new emblem is designed to bring together four pillars which are the essence of the brand: “the human dimension; the winegrowers; the star as a symbol of luxury; and the links, which represent the combination of all elements together to bring together luxury and emotion”.

“We are bringing back the story that Nicolas Feuillatte was a person, through the upgraded website,” said Juarez.” That story was lost for a period of time.”

The off-trade range comprises Sélection Brut, Sélection Demi-Sec, Grande Réserve Brut, Grande Réserve Rosé and, at the higher-end, Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Spéciale 2013 and Cuvée Spéciale Rosé. 

Nicolas Feuillatte produced 10.4 million bottles of branded Champagne in 2017. It posted net sales of €200 million, which was in line with 2016, and a net operating profit of €15.9 million, down 20% on the previous year.

That decline is due to the construction of a Centre Vinicole-Champagne in Epernay that has already significantly boosted visitor numbers.

When asked about increasing UK sales, Juarez said: “The UK is still a challenging market. One of the difficulties, apart from Brexit and the issues of currency, is that the distribution is so concentrated, so the players are less and less important. 

“Distribution is difficult. The wholesale system is challenging. In the smaller outlets there’s an issue with how it is displayed. It’s behind the till.

“There are logistical challenges. We would like to see that change.”

He added: “It is with great pleasure that we roll out our new visual identity, which is the final gem in the crown. This project has been years in the making and we believe the outcome looks elegantly premium while equally being modern and youthful.” 

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