During April nine-liter control states spirits case sales, influenced by calendar anomalies and a weak comp, grew at a rather robust 5.8% rate over same period sales last year. Alabama(6.9%), Iowa(4.9%), Idaho(7.2%), Montgomery County Maryland(1.4%), Maine(6.6%), Michigan(4.6%), Mississippi(6.8%), Montana(15.8%), North Carolina(9.8%), Ohio(7.7%), Oregon(6.4%), Pennsylvania(3.0%), Utah(5.4%), Virginia(6.7%), Vermont(2.6%), West Virginia(6.7%), and Wyoming(11.8%) reported monthly growth rates for April exceeding their twelve-month trends. New Hampshire(-3.9%) grew at a rate that fell short of its twelve-month trend. Control state rolling-twelve-month volume growth, 3.3%, improved upon March’s reported 3.0%. Spirits volumes grew 4.3% year-to-date compared to 2.6% a year ago.
Control state spirits shelf dollars grew at 8.0% during April while trending at 6.2% during the past twelve months. Alabama(9.5%), Iowa(6.1%), Idaho(9.1%), Montgomery County Maryland(1.2%), Maine(7.9%), Michigan(7.2%), Mississippi(9.1%), Montana(17.4%), North Carolina(12.3%), Ohio(11.1%), Oregon(9.9%), Pennsylvania(4.1%), Utah(8.4%), Virginia(10.2%), Vermont(4.2%), and West Virginia(10.0%) reported growth rates exceeding their twelve-month trends. New Hampshire(-7.7%) and Wyoming(7.9%) grew shelf dollars at rates lagging their twelve-month trends. Shelf dollars in the control states are up 6.8% year-to-date compared to 5.4% last year-to-date.
Price/Mix for April is 2.2%, down slightly from March’s 2.4%.
April’s robust growth rate was effected by a patchwork of calendar related reporting anomalies in the control States. Specifically,
- This year’s April had four Sundays versus five last year. There are five control states—Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Utah—whose retail outlets selling spirits are closed on Sundays.
- As of March 2019, retail outlets in West Virginia, which previously were closed on Sunday, are now open for business. Spirit retailers in West Virginia had five additional selling days during this year’s April compared to last year’s.
- Easter, 2019, was celebrated on Sunday, April 21. Sales leading up to the 2019 holiday were booked during the week of April 14. Easter 2018 was celebrated on Sunday, April 1, and sales leading up to last year’s holiday were booked during the week of March 25, hardening March’s but softening April’s 2019 comp.
- There were eight more selling days, 1.6% more, in the control states during this year’s April compared to April last year. The additional days were Sundays, which account for approximately 8% share of weekly sales (this varies by state and by month of the year; 8% is “directional”) in a control state whose spirits retailers are open for business on Sundays.
- After equivalizing selling day variations between this year’s April and last year’s, April’s nine-liter case spirits growth rate is 5.1% with a rolling-twelve-month trend of 3.5%. April’s shelf-dollar growth rate is 7.4% with a rolling-twelve-month trend of 6.4%.
- Equivalized price mix for April is 2.3% and, compared to March's equivalized 2.9%, suggest that pricing actions may have also influenced the magnitude of April's growth rate.