Coles Liquor sales up 1.8% despite cost of living pressures, 14.9% e-commerce growth

February 28, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Coles Group has recorded a 1.8% growth in liquor sales revenue over the first half of the 2024 financial year reporting period, bringing the sector’s total revenue to $2 billion. When excluding bulk sales, this figure extends to a 2.4% increase.

According to CEO Leah Weckert, Coles Group’s focus on supporting value-oriented customers was vital to its growth.

“We understand the cost of living pressures that many of our customers face, such as higher rent, mortgage, energy, and other household bills,” she said.

“Over the last six months, we lowered the prices of hundreds of products through our “Great Value, Hands Down” campaign and we delivered additional value through a wide range of Exclusive to Coles products, weekly specials, and our Flybuys loyalty program.

“With this in mind, we worked with our suppliers to offer value in December, with quality Christmas products at a great price well received by our customers.”

In the liquor space, value was primarily driven through Coles Liquor’s Exclusive Liquor Brand (ELB) portfolio, which includes ‘homebrand’ items along with other exclusives brewed externally such as the Tinnies range. In addition to the 199 ELB lines added over the reporting period, Coles Liquor also recognises investments in value such as its ‘Lower for Longer’ price mechanics, First Choice Liquor Market’s ‘Price Match’ promise, and Liquorland’s ‘50 Days of Deals’ as significant contributing factors to its value appeal.

Coles Liquor e-commerce growth, which saw a 14.9% increase in revenue and 6.4% growth in penetration, also provided support to Coles Liquor’s solid results amidst difficult economic conditions. It also outlines a solid foundation for Coles Liquor’s renewed focus on omnichannel growth.

“We have been on this omnichannel journey for some time, and whilst as an industry we have been investing in digital, there is still a lot of change left to come, which only underscores why we need to remain focused on this as an industry,” said Michael Courtney at the Drinks Association’s Network Breakfast last wednesday. 

Despite this anticipated growth in omnichannel focus, Courtney believes that Coles Liquor’s online stores will remain as secondary supporting elements to its physical retail outlets.

“E-commerce will continue to grow as part of our industry and part of retail in general. But, depending on what forecast you look at, it will sit somewhere between 10-20% of sales,” he said

“This means the customer interactions for the majority of sales and transactions will still occur in-store.

“Omnichannel can be a huge unlocker for us. The rate at which digital is moving can at times feel overwhelming for our customers. If customer experience is done poorly, it can just feel like we’re putting stuff on top of more stuff.

“Customer experience is key because it will drive share, which will drive scale, which will drive returns.”

Coles Group has also recently announced the expansion of Liquorland into Tasmania through the purchase of the 9/11 bottle shop chain.

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