By Andy Young
Aldi’s plans to sell alcohol in its new Western Australia stores have been dealt a blow after its latest liquor licence application was refused.
As previously reported in TheShout, Aldi is expanding in WA and in May became the first supermarket in the state to be granted a liquor licence, with a second store approved in August. However WA’s Director for Liquor Licensing (DLL) has now refused the German retailer's third and fourth applications in the state, with stores in Harrisdale and now Joondalup being refused licences.
But the German retailer has told TheShout that it is planning to appeal the decision about its liquor licence application for Joondalup.
“We are disappointed with the outcome of this decision, which denies Western Australian shoppers an offering available to many of our customers on the eastern states and which is strongly demanded by the public in Joondalup,” Anna McGrath, Managing Director – Aldi Western Australia, told TheShout.
“Aldi began to offer liquor in our Victorian stores in 2003 and since this date, our offering has become a familiar and convenient part of a standard household shop. Our goal is to bring this same convenience, efficiency and quality range to shoppers in Western Australia.”
Aldi currently holds more than 260 liquor licences nationally, with liquor available in selected Aldi stores in NSW, ACT and Victoria. Unlike other supermarkets, Aldi does not have detached or, large format liquor stores and does not carry any chilled alcohol products for immediate consumption.
In a statement about the WA licences, an Aldi spokesperson told TheShout: “The public of Perth have spoken very loudly through social media and in other forums, including at Aldi supermarkets that have opened in Western Australia, regarding their strong support for Aldi operating in WA and its liquor service.
“Thousands of people have expressed demand for the Aldi liquor range that is so popular in the eastern states to be available to them in WA.
“Aldi is applying for liquor licences at a number of potential store locations, including Butler and Wattle Grove. Aldi are currently assessing those licences and their conditions, after receiving conditional approval.
“As a responsible and experienced retailer, Aldi strictly observes all regulations for the purchase of alcohol and partners with DrinkWise Australia as part of this commitment. Its range is carefully selected and limited to a small segregated and clearly delineated area within store, approximately one quarter of the size of a standard bottle shop.
“This means that the liquor area is covered by excellent surveillance, alcohol purchases must be made during the limited opening hours of the store and customers must enter the Aldi supermarket environment to purchase liquor.”
In refusing the Joondalup store’s licence, the DLL highlighted that there are currently three other liquor stores in the shopping centre where the Aldi is located as well as a tavern. The DLL said: “The Centre and the surrounding locality are well catered for in terms of packaged liquor outlets,” adding that putting another licence in the Centre “would not be consistent with the public interest nor the objects of the [WA Liquor Control] Act.
Aldi also currently has WA licence applications before the DLL for a store at South Lake and one at Lakelands.