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Champagne could once again become the preserve of the wealthy as prices for luxury goods soar in Britain.
Latest statistics show the cost of living crisis is also affecting high-end goods and leisure activities, with champagne, theatre and ice cream rocketing in price.
A study published in The Grocer magazine found nearly every brand of champagne in UK supermarkets had notably declined in sales after a price hike, The Telegraph reports.
Veuve Clicquot (£54.90 per litre), Moet (£48.89), Bollinger (£54.08) and Laurent-Perrier (£52.91) increased in price by 14 per cent, 15 per cent, 12 per cent and 12 per cent respectively this year. For Veuve, this represented an increase of £6.68 per litre.
The report found that British consumers are replacing their small luxuries with budget options as the nation continues to tighten its belts.
The price rises have corresponded with a sharp fall in sales. Veuve Cliquot has lost 16.7 per cent of its market share, while Moet & Chandon is down 10.7 per cent, Bolling 16.2 per cent and Lauren-Perrier down 7.3 per cent.
On the other hand, affordable champagne brand Larson – which sells at an average of £43.43 per litre – grew its market share by 10.7 per cent although this has been partly attributed to a rise in prices.
Elsewhere, West End ticket prices have risen by a fifth over the past three years, according to the latest ticketing survey from The Stage industry newspaper.
It found the average cost of the most expensive West End tickets was set at £140.85 this year – jumping 21.3 per cent since 2019.
Conversely, the average cheaper ticket has seen a price rise of just 3.3 per cent over the same time period, rising to £22.56.
Theatre critic Mark Shenton said: ‘Theatres were always trying to get the maximum yield out of the seats they’ve got, that’s the way the business works.
‘But they’ve discovered the notion of premium pricing, which is…. inflating prices artificially, is one way to do that.
‘Producers here have sort of misjudged the mood of the public backlash,’ he told The Telegraph.
The stage has conducted its survey of ticket prices since 2012 and says the latest add-ons are the result of new productions.
West End ticket prices have risen by a fifth over the past three years, according to the latest ticketing survey from The Stage industry newspaper (Pictured: The London Coliseum, home of English National Opera)
Among other delicacies, Ben & Jerries ice cream is now charging £4.50 for a 465ml tub of its top flavours, up 50 per cent from £3 last year.
The brand’s cookie dough, vanilla birthday cake and chocolate budge brownie flavours have all been given the price hike, The Sun reports.
Other ice cream brands have also leapt in price. Cadbury’s Flake ice cream jumped from from £2 last year to £3.25 (Up 62.5 per cent) and a pack of four Mars ice cream bars increased from £1.50 last year to £2 this year (Up 33.3%).
Lucy Auld, of Freixenet Copestick, which has grow by 10.3 per cent, said the decline in upscale champagne was an ‘opportunity for other sparkling wines’ with an ‘accessible price point’.
The market for English and Welsh wines grew by 30 per cent in 2020 over the previous year, and nearly 2,000 hectares of vines were planted since 2017.
Earlier this month, Majestic reported a 58 per cent sales increase for English sparkling wines over the course of a year.
Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough, vanilla birthday cake and chocolate budge brownie flavours cost £4.50 for a 465ml tub of its top flavours, up 50 per cent from £3 last year
Ice cream is also among the luxury goods which have rocketed in price as the cost of living crisis unravels
Among other high-end leisure pursuits, high speed racing is becoming a limited commodity with tracks struggling due to inflation. Barbury Castle Estate in Wiltshire has been forced to cease point-to-point racing at the estate this season and into the foreseeable future.
A spokesman said: ‘This decision has been taken in conjunction with the organisers of three race meetings hosted at the estate – the Barbury International, the Vine and Craven and the Tedworth.
‘The decision is a result of the current highly challenging economic environment. The course has been operating at a loss for a number of years, which has been compounded by the cancellation of meetings during the Covid pandemic and a significant reduction in sponsorship revenues.
‘Against this backdrop, surging inflation has also substantially raised the costs of maintaining the course and the required multi-year capital investment programme. These factors have resulted in a continuation of point-to-point racing becoming no longer viable.
‘No firm decision has been taken on the long-term future of the point-to-point course.’
Barbury Castle International Horse Trials, which runs from July 7 to 10 this year, is unaffected but the hunts connected with the point-to-points must now look for alternative venues.