Revenue growth for Coles Liquor but craft down

As rival Endeavour Drinks Group continues to be mired in board-level infighting over strategy, Coles’ first quarter results have shown continued, if modest, growth for the company.

Announcing its first quarter result to the ASX, the company revealed liquor sales of $851 million, an increase of 1.8 percent over the previous corresponding period.

The company said it had seen increased evidence of cost-of-living pressures impacting consumer behaviour, evidenced in the beer category by customers shifting back to mainstream and international brands away from craft beer.

The ready-to-drink category grew strongly with Coles saying consumers were shifting from full bottle spirits to ‘more affordable’ ready-made drinks.

Concerningly for small producers, the company’s Exclusive Liquor Brands – its private label business that directly competes with its suppliers drawing criticism at a Parliamentary inquiry earlier this year – added 150 new lines to the portfolio.

The company reported it had added 200 lines in its first-half results for the last financial year.

“Our Exclusive Liquor Brands (ELB) portfolio continues to resonate with customers with revenue growth outperforming the broader liquor division and more than 150 new lines added to the portfolio,” the announcement said.

“ELB revenue grew by 2.8% for the quarter, compared to the prior corresponding period with penetration increasing to 22.1% of sales revenue.”

The company also reported strong growth in eCommerce, up 32.2 percent to $54 million, driven it said by the on-demand channel. eCommerce penetration grew from 5 percent to 6.5 percent from the first quarter last year.

The company said its second-quarter sales revenue growth to date was ‘broadly in-line’ with the first quarter.

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