Liquor sales up at Coles even as lockdowns ease

Sales are up at Coles Liquor as the retailer suggests that increased at-home consumption will be the ‘new normal’, despite lockdowns easing across the country.

In its first quarter results, the owner of First Choice, Vintage Cellars and Liquorland, said that sales grew 17.4 per cent on the prior corresponding period to $852 million, aided by 80 per cent growth in online sales.

“Liquor sales remained elevated throughout the first quarter across all states despite the relaxation of on-premise consumption of liquor in some states,” the statement to the ASX this morning said.

Coles revealed that trends in buying behaviours continued, with customers purchasing “value-oriented, larger pack sizes” in beer and spirits.

In store, champagne, gin and single malt whisky all grew by more than 50 per cent, it said, but cask wine category declined as customers changed drinking behaviours.

As part of a focus on private label brands and locally-sourced ranges, it launched 400 new state-local products including 89 in its most recent quarter, an area of the market which its competitor Endeavour Drinks Group has also found lucrative.

It also revealed that in the first four weeks of its second quarter, comparable sales in its Liquor division grew 16.9 per cent, or 15.3 per cent excluding Victoria which has only this week started to ease out of strict lockdowns.

The supermarket giant said that this indicated that “increased levels of at-home activity and entertaining are likely to underpin home consumption of food and liquor” will also bolster its online performance.

It also predicted that restricted international travel is likely to boost population numbers particularly during traditional holiday travelling periods.

Across the board, group sales rose 10.5 per cent to $9.6 billion for the quarter, and it incurred $65 million in COVID in the period.

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