French champagne houses toast to record sales expected in 2021 – .

French champagne houses toast to record sales expected in 2021 – .

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                Les ventes de champagne devraient marquer une année record alors que les magasins et les restaurants reconstituent leurs stocks après des mois de restrictions liées aux virus et que la demande de détail augmente, a déclaré vendredi un organisme du secteur.                </p><div>

                <p>Les perspectives pour la saison clé des fêtes de Noël et du Nouvel An, cependant, sont assombries par l'incertitude concernant la variante Omicron récemment détectée du coronavirus.

Jean-Marie Barillere, co-president of the association of the champagne sector CIVC and president of the group of champagne brands UMP, told AFP that the sector was heading towards sales of 315 million bottles this year, representing a turnover of 5.5 billion euros (6.2 billion dollars).

If confirmed, that will break the current annual sales record of 5 billion euros, reached in 2019, before Covid hits.

The increase in sales comes after severe spring frosts followed by summer rains wreaked havoc on French vineyards, some of which are expected to record crop losses of up to a third for the year.

But champagne must age more than a year and producers traditionally keep millions of bottles stored in their cellars to ensure a steady supply from year to year.

Strong exports, especially to English-speaking countries, were a big factor for the record year, Barillere said.

“The pandemic has created new consumption habits,” he said. “Everything about home entertaining is in high demand, including champagne. “

But the outlook for traditional events and dining out over Christmas and New Years depends on developments in Covid, and whether the Omicron strand causes further travel restrictions, curfews or blockages.

“Two weeks ago I would have told you that the outlook for the holiday season was great but the new variant dampened our optimism,” he said.

The danger of a “terrible halt” was now exerted on the plans for end-of-year festivities.

Dozens of countries have reported cases of the Omicron variant, and the World Health Organization has said it could take weeks to determine how dangerous the variant really is. The EU health agency has meanwhile warned that the new shutter could cause more than half of Covid cases in Europe in the coming months.

(France 24 with AFP)



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