…as competition forces Virgin Vodka to cut price

Virgin Trading Company is slashing the price of one litre Virgin Vodka bottles – to be launched before Christmas – by 40 per cent. The decision raises speculation that Virgin is finding it hard to maintain the brand’s premium positioning.

It will be the first time Virgin Vodka, which launched in May, has been price promoted. The new one litre bottles will be priced at 10.79, the same price as its 70 cl bottles.

The company says “40 per cent extra free” will be used as a sales promotion on allocated stocks, and the one litre bottle will revert to full price when the stocks are sold.

Virgin Vodka was launched as a premium brand aimed at taking on Smirnoff. But trade observers say its price may be driven down to compete with the lower priced Vladivar, and result in the Virgin product being positioned as “sub-premium”.

One industry observer says: “This promotion is going to be extremely costly for Virgin, with the company paying all the extra overheads for the one litre bottles. The vodka market is difficult to break into given the stranglehold of Smirnoff.”

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