Brexit takes fizz out of champagne
CHAMPAGNE drinkers in Britain - the biggest export market for bubbly - face higher prices next year as the impact of the Brexit vote on the British pound takes its toll, industry executives warned.
"The market in Britain is undergoing a period of adjustment. The brands have not yet factored in the effect of foreign exchange rates on their prices," Charles-Armand de Belenet, marketing director for Pernod Ricard's Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët champagne brand, said.
The June vote for Britain to quit the European Union led sterling to slump to its lowest level since 1985 against the US dollar and to fall against the euro.
The weak pound makes euro-priced products more expensive in sterling terms.
French champagne industry executives said that whilst they had managed to offset the Brexit impact to an extent this year, with some firms delaying price rises, they would have to raise prices in Britain next in 2017 in order to protect their profit margins.
Bruno Paillard, who heads the Lanson champagne house, said that while Lanson's sales were showing signs of an increase from last year, exchange rates remained a worry.
"The question of exchange rates is a cause for concern, it represents quite a considerable loss of money," Mr Paillard said.
France exported 150.7 million bottles of champagne in 2015, worth €2.64bn, according to an industry group.
Britain accounted for nearly 23pc of France's champagne exports by volume that year, equivalent to over 34 million bottles. (Reuters)