As Coles Liquor focused on its vision to be a simpler, more accessible, locally relevant drinks specialist, the retailer saw strong headline sales growth in 2023, with revenue up 2.7 per cent in the second half of FY23.

Michael Courtney, Coles Liquor Chief Executive, says a big focus for Coles Liquor in 2023 was expanding its own product line and renewing the operations of stores nationwide.

“We launched more than 250 exclusive liquor brand products and won 511 awards for our exclusive liquor products last financial year, including Abbey Vale Shiraz, which won Gold at Royal Sydney, Royal Perth and Royal Hobart, and Tinnie’s Pale Ale, which was awarded World’s Best in its category at the World Beer Awards.

“I’m proud to say we renewed a total of 236 Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market and Vintage Cellars stores nationwide last financial year, including our 500th black and white Liquorland store in Queensland.”

Putting customers and community first

Under mounting cost-of-living pressures, and with a refreshed Coles Group strategy, 2023 demonstrated the importance of delivering choice and value to customers and maintaining support of local communities.

“We’ve really had to understand exactly what our customers are looking for and provide an offer that meets their specific needs,” added Courtney.

“Over the footy finals, we launched a BBQ and beer promotion and gave away $10, $20 and $30 Coles gift cards when customers purchased a case of Carlton Dry.

“We continued to support our local communities with initiatives like Liquorland’s Love Your Land campaign, which raised more than $160,000 for Clean Up Australia and will provide thousands of clean up kits to volunteers.

“Our loyalty programs Flybuys and VC Club played an even more important role last year and will continue to do so into 2024 when the offering will become more sophisticated and personalised.

“In 2024, we’re looking forward to continuing to provide our customers with great value across all three banners, as well as an extensive range and expert advice.”

With community support playing an important role at Coles Liquor, safe alcohol consumption remains a priority for the organisation.

“We partnered with not-for-profit DrinkWise to introduce new signage in all our stores, which aims to provide customers with a simple and discreet way to access support services if they or someone they know needs help managing their alcohol consumption.

“We understand the role we play in promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol and we want to make sure that our customers know there is support available and it’s okay to ask for help.”

Sustainability matters

In 2023, sustainability was of great importance, both to customers and to Coles Liquor as an organisation.

“We’re seeing a more conscious consumer who is concerned with their environmental footprint and we’re working hard to be more sustainable and lower our emissions,” says Courtney.

“Solar panels are currently being installed on many of our stores thanks to our landmark agreement with Origin that will see panels added to the roofs of 100 sites across Coles Group over the next three years.”

This article originally appeared in the 2024 Leaders Forum issue of National Liquor News.

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