By Ian Neubauer

Woolworths has reported a 13 per cent jump in liquor sales for its pubs and off-premise liquor outlets, up from $4.1 billion in 2007 to $4.7 billion this year.

Liquor sales contributed to an after tax net profit of $1.627 billion for the group’s combined businesses during the 2007-08 fiscal year, up 25.7 per cent compared to the year before.

Woolworths said the result reflected the contribution of new store openings, store refurbishments, and long-term investments in distribution and logistic systems. It credited initiatives in customer engagement, financial services and branding for driving the group’s competitive advantage.

“We continue to expand our range of our exclusive brands and control labels,” the company said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange. “An example is the launch of our low-carb beer called ‘Platinum Blonde’ in July 2008.”

Woolworths launched 22 new Dan Murphy stores in the past 12 months, bringing the total store number to 89. It has obtained sites and licenses for 66 more, which are scheduled to open within the next three years.

The company is also in the process of applying intellectual property developed in its supermarket supply chain systems to other businesses, including Dan Murphy and BWS.

Woolworths operates a total of 1077 liquor outlets in Australia.

Woolworths shares gained 2 per cent since the result was announced yesterday, reaching $27.28 by 3:00pm today (August 27).

The Shout Team

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

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