By Andrew Starke

Coles has delivered better than expected half-year results with food and liquor revenue of $12 billion, up 7.5 percent from the preceding half and 6 percent up on the comparable six months the previous year.

According to Coles MD, Ian Mcleod, liquor results were ‘solid’, with First Choice, Liquorland and Vintage Cellars increasingly differentiated from each other as strategic offerings.

He also cited at improvement in the alignment of Coles supermarkets with Liquorland stores.

The result reflects well on liquor division boss, Tony Leon, who has been able to wrest market share away from Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s through aggressive discounting.

Leon, the former general manager of Dan Murphy’s and the man credited for building the chain of large-format liquor stores into Woolworths’ hero retail brand, jumped ship to Coles in September 2008.

His brief at the time was to revitalise business across each of the retail giant’s three liquor banner groups — Liquorland, 1st Choice and Vintage Cellars.

According to Wesfarmers results released to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), there were on average 17 million customer visits per week to Coles food, liquor and Express stores over the six months to December last year.

During the first half Coles opened nine supermarkets, 18 liquor stores, three Cole Express sites and one hotel.

In addition it refurbished 19 supermarkets, 15 liquor stores and 90 Coles Express sites.

However 12 liquor stores and 18 Coles supermarkets close over this time.

As at December 31, Coles had 749 supermarkets, 781 liquor stores, 626 Coles Express sites and 95 hotels nationwide.

The Shout Team

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

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