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Prices - a sign of the times?

Going public may be seen as counterproductive initially, and perhaps there has been a lot of lobbying going on. The whole thing has been a complete mess. I don’t think it should be taken as consent in any sense, and I would expect TWS to be free to comment publicly if it causing material non tariff barrier issues e.g. small producers. I would certainly support any pressure put on politicians in that way.

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I’m not an economist by any stretch of the imagination, but I could imagine that the costs of a business might have risen at a different rate to the traditional measures of inflation. If those costs are unlikely to fall in the medium to long term, it would seem a bad idea not to mark up prices right away, especially if your competitors are going to do the same and your prices are very competitive in the first place. Of course, TWS being a coop is in the enviable position of not having a traditional shareholder lobby to satisfy but it does need to protect its overall business model, for the benefit of us all

That is of course possible, but which costs in the last 6 months? Not the exchange rate (unusually), and in any case, most of these wines would have already been imported and invoiced, even if not paid for. Not labour costs. Expected costs, yes, probably, but that would be a reason for raising the prices in the price list which has just come out, and even for that 6-10% looks steep. A reappraisal of the competitive position relative to other sellers? Possibly, but questionable when relative service has fallen (the long period of closure, the still closed showroom). Against all these arguments, even if they were valid, is the implied commitment, if you publish a list, of keeping the prices constant until the next list, especially when the lists are more frequent than annually.

Out of interest, which list are you comparing the current prices to? The one which has just come out or the previous one?

I think if you look at the dates above we are all reporting on wines which each of us has bought twice in the last few months, at different prices, and before the current price list came out.

But haven’t the price increases all happened within the last week or two? Fairly closely aligned with the new list.

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I think so yes…difficult to prove, but almost certainly with new list. I bought the Lirac in November at the old price.

I quoted one wine, bought mid-January. I received the list yesterday. It was the same vintage as I had bought before.

That seems a bit of an overreaction. TWS is typically cheaper than most retailers for the same wines, and inevitably prices will go up at some point across the board.

If other retailers increase some of their prices would you abstain entirely?

Surely the logical approach is to decide if you find whatever the price demanded to be a reasonable offer, and this must be based on contemporary competition. If we always base what we find ‘reasonable’ on past costs then we’ll always feel ripped off - things will never go in the opposite direction.

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there is one retailer (that I will not name) that applied early Jan prices increases of 20% on some wines I had an eye on … only just to discount them back in their February sales to bring them back roughly to the same price as they were end december :joy:

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I don’t think it is about the vintage, it is definitely linked to the new list, but suspect once again there will be finger-pointing at the current website limitations. I’d wager that it is a cumbersome process to change a large quantity of prices - it can’t just happen overnight so has taken a couple of weeks. I’d be more concerned if the current website prices did not match the new list.

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Not sure I agree with this statement. There is a difference between making a public statement and sharing thoughts, comments or lobbying the government to influence decisions/process.

There are also various trade bodies that represent businesses like TWS so that views and knowledge are taken into account.

My employer haven’t made any public statements but have been involved in industry discussions with the government.

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I only noticed price changes once the news that the list was on it way came out.

It’s an interesting thread. Useful, too, I think.

I was going to buy some cheaper wines late last year, but thought I’d wait until the new year sale, which this year was much more limited, I think - I didn’t get anything.

But maybe the lesson is don’t buy wines after the new year, get them a couple of weeks before.

The Lirac price is a curiosity. Oh well, I have one bottle.

Perhaps the rise in prices reflect storage cost. Obviously, 70p or whatever the annual storage cost is on a bottle is 7pc on a £10 bottle.

I think there are several factors in play here - and they will interact.

      • BRXT, will add around £1.50 to £2 per bottle. So disproportionately affects cheaper wine.
      • TWS (and others) have pre-bought stock, which can soften / smooth out price fluctuations.
      • TWS pre-bought stock (as a buffer against BRXT unknowns) will have additional storage costs.
      • TWS pricing policy will be a commercial secret so you will never know.
      • Producers (and importers) can introduce an annual price hike whenever they wish, a new year is a good time to do so, and also ‘a good time to bury bad news’.
    1. Focussing on one wine, might be an outlier / a statistical anomaly… it wont represent a general trend.

So I don’t think you will ever get a clear answer, without a retrospective forensic examination ? probably not the response you might hope for. Sorry about the bullet points! dont know how to sort that!

Totally irrelevant… but I’m a freelancer, and have imposed a 7% price increase on some clients, to bring their pricing in line with others where I lifted my rates around 6 months ago. So I’m kinda covered for an increase in wine costs.

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This is an important point - TWS isn’t in the habit of bumping up prices and then discounting them later in some grand sales extravaganza. Instead pricing is fairly consistent, yes we notice small increases but it’s nothing like the BOGOF-type offers that some wine merchants are notorious for!

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Is it not the case that the price a retailer sells a wine for reflects the price they expect to have to pay for the next vintage, not the price they paid for the last one? Therefore, costs rise to cover future expenses not past.

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I expect the price a retailer sells the wine to be first driven by supply and demand really :slight_smile: , and price changes are used to stimulate demand…

obviously there are considerations of how the price set for a given vintage affects existing stock of same wine for a different vintage.

In my example above, the retailer had the same price for vintages 2016 = 2017 = 2018 = 2019 en primeur.
it bumped the 2016 price by 20%… then discounting it back for its sales campaign

Yes - I must admit I had TWS in mind when I said “retailer” because I don’t think we often see TWS changing prices frequently. I suspect some of these recent changes are as a result of TWS trying to hold prices as long as possible, such that when rises actually happen they look quite chunky, rather than adding 10-20p per bottle per annum.

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Interesting article in the Times today about the relationship between inflation, price volatility and consumer perception. Consumers are more aware when prices change frequently.
Sorry it will be behind a paywall but here it is

The headline is a bit misleading, btw.

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