Independent Liquor Retailers (ILR) has enjoyed its most successful result in six years, growing to 423 members across NSW, ACT and Queensland and delivering 9.8 per cent growth in income. 

General Manager Corey Leeson told National Liquor News that the expansion into Queensland has been a major factor in ILR’s growth, having yielded more than 50 members in the first 12 months.

“We have really found our niche and will continue to expand our focus on this region to power our growth. Our Liquor & Co banner has been the most well received with its contemporary branding and customised marketing. We aim to get this to 75 members and secure some larger pub groups.”

But the year has not been without its challenges, with a membership base that is strong in regional areas there have been many that are heavily affected by drought and bushfires. Leeson says that ILR will work with these members to ensure that they “survive and then thrive once things settle down”.

He also highlights that a growth in competition, increasing costs, a shift to online retail and a decline in consumption, have all presented challenges.

“ILR’s focus in 2020 is getting back to our core values of ensuring we are securing the right cost of goods and delivering the right margin to our members. With the impending increases in stock costs due to CDS, CPI, low wine yields, drought, freight etc. I believe it is important that we put our focus on best cost price for members to be competitive in today’s market.

“Partner that with our other need, which is to continue to expand our data capture to ensure we are understanding what is happening at store level and use that data to build the best promotional program for our members.”

When it comes to trends, Leeson says that he’s noticed people’s repertoires are expanding but shoppers are also wanting to support local businesses.

“Consumers like to try new things which is why product innovation is so important to support. There is also a movement towards supporting locally produced products such as craft beer, gin and wine. This has led to the need to make our promotional programs more relevant to regions within NSW, ACT and Queensland. So, we have divested our marketing into five specific regions to allow for this.

“I see opportunities in tailoring our marketing to the right consumers with the right product and the right occasion. Being smarter with how we promote and use data to ensure what we do has the desired increase in sales and profit.”

So, with continued growth in Queensland and a more targeted approach to ranging and promotions, it looks set to be another strong year for ILR.

This story was written for the National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum.

This story was written for the National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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