Coles has delivered its first quarter results for FY23, with the liquor business reporting sales revenue of $836 million, a decline of 4.3 per cent, with comparable sales declining by 4.1 per cent.

Coles notes that this is driven by the business cycling results seen during COVID-19 lockdowns in NSW, VIC and the ACT in the prior corresponding period, with liquor sales now returning to more ‘normal’ levels. The retailer said that if these states and their bulk sales were excluded, liquor sales grew in the first quarter.

On a three year basis, Coles Liquor’s sales revenue has increased by 15.2 per cent, an acceleration compared to the 14.3 per cent increase reported in the fourth quarter of FY22.

In this first quarter of the new financial year, Liquorland was the strongest performing banner for Coles Liquor, with the 300th Liquorland store renewed in the black and white format. On an overall store front, Coles Liquor completed 58 store renewals, opened seven new stores and closed six stores. It had a total of 934 stores in the portfolio at the end of the period.

Breaking down performance, Coles Liquor notes RTDs as a key driver of growth, as was the ‘trusted value’ angle, which saw lowered prices for longer with almost 1000 price drops across Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market.

In the report, Coles explained the strategy for this quarter and beyond, noting: “The Coles Liquor strategy has now transitioned into the ‘Differentiate and Grow’ horizon with a focus on differentiating the offer and serving customers better.

“During the quarter, range reviews in key categories such as RTDs, cider, white wine and rosé were delivered with 94 new Exclusive Liquor Brand (ELB) and over 680 new local lines added. In addition, 30 new low and no alcohol products were also added to the Liquor portfolio during the quarter. Pleasingly, more than 130 awards across the ELB portfolio were received including Tinnies Pale Ale awarded the World’s Best in its category at the World Beer Awards.”

E-commerce was another bright spot for the Coles in the liquor space, with the report continuing: “E-commerce delivered sales revenue growth of 3.9 per cent despite cycling strong sales in the prior corresponding period with penetration of 5.0 per cent in the first quarter, compared to 4.5 per cent in the prior corresponding period.”

In line with this e-commerce growth, on-demand services were also expanded, with immediacy delivery now available in more than 560 stores on the Eastern seaboard. Coles Liquor also increase capacity with the roll out of Click & Collect options to the boot of customers cars in more than 70 First Choice Liquor Market stores.

Speaking about the performance of the group overall in the quarter, Coles Group CEO, Steven Cain, said: “Despite record levels of hospitality expenditure in Australia, we are pleased that a strengthening sales trajectory is being driven by improved availability, new value campaigns, and the unwind of local shopping as consumer shopping behaviour normalises.

“Our commitment to providing trusted value, including Australia’s widest range of own brand products and the successful introduction of ‘Dropped & Locked’ prices, is more relevant than ever with rising inflation placing pressure on many Australian households.

“I’d like to thank our team members, suppliers and community partners for their hard work during the quarter and for helping us to continue delivering our purpose to sustainably help all Australians lead healthier, happier lives.”

Cain concluded that Coles’ thoughts are with everyone battling severe flooding in Victoria and the East Coast. He noted the retailer is providing support to a number of flood-affected communities in northern Victoria, including with two semi-trailers with pallets of essential groceries delivered to Shepparton Showgrounds relief centre, and further supplies sent to the Njernda Aboriginal Corporation in Echuca.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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