ALDI has revealed it plans to open five additional stores in South Australia this year, as its liquor licence fight continues in the state.
The news follows its first new store of the year opening in Salisbury this week.
The supermarket chain now has 34 stores in the state, with new outlets planned for Clovelly Park, Findon, Mawson Lakes, Norwood and Plympton.
“Every year, our impact on South Australia becomes more significant as our store network grows,” said Viktor Jakupec, managing director of South Australia, ALDI Australia.
“Our focus in 2020 is to continue to support local communities through new store openings, employment and food charity partnerships. We look forward to a successful year of growth in the state which sees even more South Australians save on their grocery shop.”
ALDI now employs 652 people between its stores, SA head office and distribution centre and in 2018 the retailer reportedly contributed over $168 million to the South Australian economy.
ALDI continues liquor licence fight in SA
ALDI is still awaiting a verdict on its application to sell alcohol in SA using a “producer’s licence”.
Currently, South Australian supermarkets are banned from selling alcohol under ‘packaged liquor’ rules, which prohibit the sale of alcohol in any business “ordinarily known as or advertised as a supermarket, convenience store or delicatessen”.
However, the chain has applied for a ‘producer’s licence’ for six of its stores in the state at Hawthorn, Adelaide Airport, Aldinga, Victor Harbor, Newton and Blackwood.
A producer’s licence allows cellar doors to sell their own stock. ALDI is arguing that it produces its own liquor products, as it partners with local breweries, winemakers and spirit makers to produce ranges.
It allows a licensee to sell wine, beer and spirits if they are produced “by or at the direction of the licensee and is uniquely the licensee’s own product”.
“The public of South Australia have spoken very loudly through social media and in other forums, regarding their strong support for ALDI operating its liquor service in SA,” Jakupec said last year.
“ALDI began to offer liquor in our Victorian stores in 2003, and since this date our offering has become a familiar and convenient part of a standard household shop.
“Liquor is currently available from selected ALDI stores in NSW, ACT, WA and Vic and our goal is to bring this same convenience, efficiency and quality range to shoppers in South Australia.”
The Australian Hotels Association has lodged a formal objection to ALDI’s application.
AHA SA general manager Ian Horne told the Adelaide Advertiser it was “a bit like ALDI sticking their middle finger up at SA’s legislative expectations”.
“This is not a slight loophole, it appears to be a deliberate attempt to circumvent the expectations of how alcohol should be sold in South Australia,” he said.
“What ALDI proposes is to circumvent this restriction (imposed in the packaged liquor licence rules) by seeking to be recognised as a producer despite not owning or operating any vineyards, breweries or distillers.
“ALDI’s liquor offer is exclusively “own brand”, i.e. someone else’s product rebadged to reflect the ALDI brand.”
According to the Attorney-General’s Department there may be a verdict on the liquor licence fight next month.