Asda delists troubled Bliss as sales slump

Scottish Courage-owned Bliss, a wine-based premium packaged drink, has been delisted by Asda less than 18 months after its launch following poor sales, putting the future of the brand in jeopardy.

The drink, claimed to be the first wine-based ready-to-drink (RTD), is aimed at 18- to-34- year-old women (MW April 17, 2003). It failed to gain listings in most supermarkets, including the Co-Op, Somerfield, Morrisons and Waitrose. Insiders say that the brand’s volume sales have slumped by 30 per cent in Sainsbury’s and sales in Tesco are also below expectations.

A spokesman for Asda says: “The product was delisted because of dismal sales. But we are planning to put it back on trial for a while.”

Scottish Courage has tried to build the brand’s profile by sponsoring ITV show Footballers’ Wives. The sponsorship was the first above-the-line support for Bliss.

The launch last year was triggered by an overall decline in the beer market. At the time, marketing manager for innovation Fiona Vernon said: “There are fewer brand-loyal beer consumers, so we have to look at the bigger picture.” Bliss was initially launched in Newcastle, prior to a national roll-out. It was initially available only in bars and late-night venues.

A Scottish Courage spokesman insists that Bliss never had a listing with Asda. “Recent sales in Sainsbury’s are down but this was because Bliss has come off promotion. It is still a relatively new brand and establishing a stable off-promotion price takes time.”

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