By James Atkinson
Woolworths says its target of opening a minimum of 16 BWS and Dan Murphy's liquor stores this year remains unchanged, despite the recent deferral of two BWS stores.
The retailer last month withdrew its request for Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) clearance of its acquisition of a packaged liquor licence located at Rocherlea in Tasmania.
But a Woolworths spokeswoman rejected a report in The Australian newspaper suggesting the store had been deferred because it was unlikely to pass ACCC scrutiny.
"[That was] speculation on the part of the journalist," she told TheShout.
"We recently opted to defer a couple of BWS stores at Rocherlea and Mount Hutton in NSW. Our new head of liquor has done a bit of reprioritisation of our liquor store opening pipeline and these particular two stores were put on hold."
The spokeswoman said both property sites are subject to different and confidential commercial agreements.
"[They] have differing requirements regarding how long we can defer before making a final decision to move ahead or walk away," she said.
"Our liquor store pipeline in terms of targeted store openings remains unchanged at 6-10 store openings per annum for BWS and 10-15 new stores for Dan Murphy's."
Meanwhile, the ACCC has requested further information from the Woolworths majority owned ALH Group in relation to its recent proposal to open a new BWS outlet in Ayr, far north Queensland.
ALH is also awaiting clearance of its acquisition of the Caringbah Hotel in Sydney, after getting the go ahead last week to purchase pubs owned by the Laundy, Waugh and De Angelis groups.