By James Wells
Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG) has expressed its disappointment at the moratorium on packaged liquor licenses in the Sydney CBD precinct as its plans for a BWS shop frontage in Pitt St Mall appear to be thwarted.
Woolworths has unveiled plans to open a Metro Supermarket in the underground location beneath 400 George Street in Sydney and is hoping to have signage on Pitt Street Mall advertising an adjacent BWS store, but licensing restrictions are hampering the execution.
“Unfortunately the new 400 George Street Metro store will not have the normally ubiquitous BWS attached to it due to the NSW moratorium on packaged licences in the CBD,” Endeavour Drinks Group head of risk and reputation, Andrew Wilsmore, told TheShout in an exclusive interview.
“Considering recent residential growth and the trend towards modern inner-city living, it is absolutely our preference to provide a drinks offer co-located with the Metro grocery shop. This complete offer would cater to the convenience needs of our modern day customers, but for now, the NSW Government doesn’t allow that to even be considered,” Wilsmore said.
Liquor Stores Association of New South Wales, Executive Director, Michael Waters told TheShout the license freeze in the Sydney CBD was contained within the findings of the recent Callinan review.
“The LSA was pleased the NSW Government listened to industry concerns, following Callinan’s recent independent liquor law review, by applying a modified liquor licence freeze in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross until June 2018. An inadvertent consequence of the freeze prevented licensees from making straightforward adaptions or improvements to their businesses, like seeking approvals to vary their licence conditions, removing a licence, or changing their licence boundary. On this premise, we look forward to continued common sense discussions with the Minister’s office and the Regulator on this matter between now and mid-2018,” Waters said.
Despite the licensing restrictions, Wilsmore confirmed that a BWS store to join the Metro store in the Sydney CBD will remain on the drawing board, as it follow’s the group’s store strategy.
“It’s potentially a very exciting opportunity to provide a BWS convenience offer to complement the Sydney CBD grocery store. As we have said previously, the BWS strategy is to play in the convenience space and meet the expectations of the ever-changing consumer,” Wilsmore said.
To emphasise its focus on convenience, BWS confirmed it will be rolling out a one-hour delivery service nationally over the coming months.