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LCBO sales hit a record $5.57BTuesday, June 14, 2016 > 12:02:45
(The Star by Robert Benzie)
Ontarians purchased $2.13 billion in spirits, $1.96 billion in wine and $1.18 billion in beer and cider.
Champagne corks are popping at the LCBO after the provincial booze giant’s record $5.57 billion in sales last year.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario announced Monday its sales were up 6.8 per cent, enabling it to deliver a $1.94-billion “dividend” to Queen’s Park, $130 million more than in 2014-15.
LCBO president and CEO George Soleas acknowledged that the sale of beer — and soon wine — in Ontario supermarkets could have an impact on upcoming results.
“In the year ahead, LCBO will face a more competitive landscape,” Soleas said in a statement.
Beer sales began in the first 60 of eventually 450 grocery stores last December, so there was minimal impact on the latest LCBO earnings.
During the first four months of supermarket six-packs, sales at Loblaws, Metro, Longo’s, Sobeys and other stores totalled $7.9 million.
With wine being sold in 70 supermarkets this fall, rising to 300 by 2025, Soleas said the 650-chain LCBO is gearing up for the challenge.
“By continuing to invest in training our frontline staff as product knowledge experts, innovations like e-commerce, and upgrading and expanding our store network, LCBO is well-positioned to deliver an excellent shopping experience and financial dividends for the people of Ontario,” he said.
It was the 21st consecutive year for LCBO sales to be up.
The retailer sold $456 million in Ontario wine — an 8-per-cent hike — and $69 million in Ontario craft beer, a 35 per cent increase.
Local craft cider sales were up 54 per cent to $5.1 million and boutique distillers rose 63.7 per cent to $3.7 million.
Overall, Ontarians purchased $2.13 billion in spirits — up 5.7 per cent — and $1.96 billion in wine, a 5.4-per-cent increase.
Beer and cider accounted for $1.18 billion in sales, an 11.7-per-cent hike.
The monopoly’s gift card sales rose 10.6 per cent to $88.5 million.