Customers develop expensive tastes

Costco wine, beer and spirits buyer Pierre Levron gave details of his company’s strategy in developing its wine sales.

He revealed that Costco’s alcohol offering comprised just 275 SKUs, with wine making up 185 of them, and added: “In four years our like-for-like sales in wines have simply doubled in Costco UK, substantially outperforming company growth and the market.”

He said pricing was crucial to Costco. “We try to establish market leadership on pricing. As we charge a membership fee we have no excuse if we are beaten on price.”

He said customers were becoming more adventurous and were increasingly willing to pay for more expensive, higher quality wines, and that bottles costing pound;6 or more now accounted for more than 60% of Costco’s wine sales.

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