By James Atkinson

Western Australia's highest court has rejected another attempt by Coles to open a First Choice Liquor store in the Perth suburb of Maylands, maintaining WA's reputation as the state most hostile to big box liquor.

Through its subsidiary, Liquorland, Coles appealed to the Supreme Court of WA against an earlier decision by the Liquor Commission to reject the Maylands First Choice store.

Among Liquorland's arguments on appeal was that its opponents had given no real evidence to support their assumption that the proposed store would lead to greater availability of cheap liquor, a submission that was rejected by Supreme Court Justice James Edelman.

"Amongst the litany of difficulties with this submission was the evidence… of Liquorland's advertisements and internet slogans saying 'We beat everyone's liquor prices' and 'Even if they're crazy enough to undercut us we'll beat them again' and 'if you find a cheaper liquor price anywhere we'll beat it'," Edelman said. 

He added that Liquorland had taken some paragraphs of the Commission's decision out of context and the retailer had also submitted that certain paragraphs of the decision should be read in isolation. 

"When the reasons of the majority are read as a whole it becomes clear that none of the grounds of appeal can succeed," Edelman said.

He said the appeal was not an opportunity for Liquorland to "scrutinise [the Commission's] reasons with a fine toothcomb". 

"Still less is it an opportunity to engage in this exercise after divorcing some paragraphs from the rest of the decision and the whole of the evidence, which in this case was voluminous."

A Coles spokesman told TheShout: "We're reviewing the decision and considering our options." 

The Shout Team

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

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