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BevAlc Retail: Thus Far, Experiencing Just a Mild Hangover

Thomas Paulson
Jul 8, 2022
BevAlc Retail: Thus Far, Experiencing Just a Mild Hangover

We recently produced an Industry Intelligence Report for the BevAlc retail category which concluded that it is a superior retail category for sustained and durable growth while also offering isolation from significant competitive encroachment and disruption. In that report, we marveled at the gains that Total Wine, Spec’s, and BevMo! made during 2020-2021 and how early in 2022 they were holding those gains.

  • We have refreshed using Placer data, and as shown below, visitations have been declining at a mid-single-digit clip on a YoY basis at Total Wine and BevMo! and close to 10% at Spec’s the past several weeks.
  • We are not able to say at this time why Spec’s is down more than the other brands, other than to observe that it benefited more from “at home” consumption than the other two brands, as shown below. As such, it is suffering a worse “hangover.”
  • The exhibit below shows BevAlc retail sales for March/April (the latest data available) roughly flat YoY with 2021 and up 28% over 2019. Given that beer and spirits price inflation is running up mid-single-digits, that increase combined with a mid-single-digit traffic/transaction decline gets us to roughly even, matching the Census Bureau’s data. We would characterize “even” on a 28% increase as a pretty mild "hangover."

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Thomas Paulson

Director of Research and Business Development, Placer.ai

Thomas Paulson spent 20 years as a Wall Street analyst and a member of asset management teams at AllianceBernstein and Cornerstone Capital, representing top-50 ownership positions including Target, Home Depot, Nike, Amazon, Google, and many more.

He brings consumer related expertise and knowledge of enterprises in retail, CPG, financial services, telecom, and entertainment.

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