Sales for Coles Liquor have remained elevated throughout the first quarter across all states, despite the relaxation of on-premise COVID-19 restrictions in some states.
Liquor sales revenue was $852 million for the first quarter, an increase of 17.4% on the prior corresponding period, with comparable sales growth of 17.8%.
Coles said the trends in buying patterns experienced in the latter part of the prior financial year continued, with customers purchasing value-oriented larger pack sizes in beer and spirits, while online sales remained strong and grew by 80%.
Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said: “We have made further progress executing our strategy to ensure the long-term growth of Coles, particularly in digital and online.”
Sales performance was driven by strong growth across all three banners, channels and categories, with sales at First Choice Liquor Market described as the “highlight as customers continued to prefer shopping in larger format stores”.
Champagne, gin and single malt whisky all grew by more than 50%, however the cask wine category declined as customers changed drinking behaviours.
A focus on growing exclusive liquor brands and local ranges has now seen the national launch of more than 400 new state local products, including 89 launched in the first quarter.
Coles said the Liquorland trial concept store in Oakleigh (above) had experienced positive feedback from customers and team members with additional trial stores set to launch in the second quarter.
The Vintage Cellars trial concept in Ashburton also continues to perform strongly with learnings from the concept store to be applied in further renewals in the second quarter.
Outlook for Coles Liquor in Q2
Liquor comparable sales growth for the first four weeks of the second quarter of FY21 was 16.9%.
Coles said that while there remains uncertainty around COVID with regards to the foreseeable future, it sees a number of important trends that will impact the Group including:
▪ High levels of awareness of personal hygiene standards are likely to impact selected product demand as well as in-store and distribution centre safety initiatives, with associated costs;
▪ Increased levels of at-home activity and entertaining are likely to underpin home consumption of food and liquor through the store network;
▪ Online consumption and digital recipes are likely to continue to enjoy strong market support;
▪ Restricted international travel is likely to boost population numbers, particularly during traditional holiday travelling periods; and
▪ As interstate borders open up, domestic travel and fuel usage is likely to increase towards pre-COVID levels.