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Sales of low-priced wines on a roll in S. Korea

All News 09:23 June 01, 2016

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- Wine is no longer booze that is consumed only on a red-letter day in South Korea. It is morphing into an alcoholic beverage for the man on the street as more low-priced brands are available and becoming popular.

Large discount store chains and wine wholesale stores have chalked up strong growth in sales of wine with a price tag of less than 10,000 won (US$8.40) this year as they offer consumers a variety of low-priced brands, industry sources said Wednesday.

No. 1 discount chain E-Mart saw such cheap wine brands garner the first five spots of the top 10 bestsellers between January and May 30 by volume.

The G7 Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chilean wine which E-Mart put on the market in partnership with Shinsegae L&B Ltd, topped the list with sales of 20,000 bottles. A 750-milliliter bottle is sold for 6,900 won.

The price tags of other top-five brands range from 8,800 won to 9,800 won, according to E-Mart.

Lotte Mart, the discount arm of retail giant Lotte Group, posted an 8.1 percent gain in sales of wines priced under 10,000 won during the January-April period. In contrast, sales of brands with a price tag of 10,000 won to 30,000 won sank 9 percent on-year over the cited period.

Sales of low-priced brands accounted for 51.3 percent of the total wine revenue during the period, compared with 46.8 percent a year earlier.

Market watchers said wine wholesale stores are gaining popularity as their cheap brands appeal to consumers.

Daily Wine, a wine wholesaler, has sold more than 10,000 bottles of wine with a price tag of less than 10,000 won since it opened its first store in Euiwang, south of Seoul, on April 26.

Of the total 11,177 bottles sold so far, low-priced wines took up 78 percent, with the remainder carrying a price tag of less than 20,000 won.

Daily Wine, which focuses on a low-price, high-volume policy, sells about 20 wine brands with a price tag of just 4,900 won. Boosted by the success of its first store, the wholesaler plans to open three more stores in the Seoul metropolitan area, and as many in three big cities.

"An increasing number of customers are visiting our store because of the low prices," said Kim Hee-sung, CEO of Daily Wine. "The high price doesn't necessarily guarantee good quality."

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