M&S: own-label boost

Marks & Spencer has widened its 100 per cent exclusive and own-label range over the last year. Fine wines have had a boost, with 20 added to the range in just two months last autumn, and the store is trialling a new fine wine fixture in one of its stores, which it hopes to roll out to other sites this year.

The chain has begun to stock off-beat wines, such as a 2001 Campo Aldea Rioja that's made entirely from rare Graciano. It has launched six Fairtrade wines and increased its organic range from seven to 12 wines.

M&S has added four new Champagnes to its list in response to a rise in sparkling wine sales. Cider, lagers and ale have also seen a sales uplift. In the 2006 festive season, M&S doubled the number of new Christmas products from the year before.

Other recent additions to the range include products M&S has developed, such as Frizzante Pinot Grigio Blush, Rosé Prosecco Raboso, Think Pink Gin and Chocolate Ruby. It has expanded its port offering with a white port, a 1991 vintage and a 1970 vintage, and launched an 18 Year Old Highland single malt Scotch.

The chain is well-known for its luxurious TV food ads, which have featured a number of wines.

In April M&S created a new wine communications role - taken on by Steffi Layer.