By Andrew Starke

National grocery and liquor wholesaler Metcash has delivered solid growth figures despite its flagship liquor business, Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM), recording flat sales.

Metcash posted 12.4 percent growth in net profit to $227.6 million for the 12 months to April 30 and increased market share despite increased competition from Coles, Woolworths and discounters like Costco and Aldi.

ALM sales were static at $2.6 billion although earnings were slightly up on the back of cost-cutting.

The liquor wholesaler operates 16 distribution centres across Australia and New Zealand, carrying more than 8,000 products to meet the wine, spirits and beer requirements of more than 13,000 licensed premises.

Marketing arm Independent Brands Australia (IBA) announced plans to grow its network by 50 outlets in 2011.

Two of its banner groups, IGA Plus Liquor and Cellarbrations, recorded sales growth of 11 percent and 6 percent respectively.

Metcash CEO Andrew Reitzer said growing beer volumes remained challenging while on-premise sales were a concern having declined 10 percent over the 12 months in question.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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