AMHERST – Liquor sales continue to rise across Cumberland County, but a cool, wet summer last year led to a continued decrease in beer sales.
“Last year was a year in which sales were slightly higher because of the growth in wine and spirits, but not as high as we hoped mostly because of the decline in beer sales,” Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation spokesman Rick Perkins said. “Most of that happened in the first six months of the year. April until the end of July was an incredibly and because of that our sales of beer declined.”
Locally, total liquor sales at the corporation’s eight stores increased slightly to $16.35 million, compared to $16.34 million the previous year.
The Amherst Superstore location continued to have the largest sales increasing to $6.43 million from $6.2 million while the LaPlanche Street store had sales of $3.24 million – a decrease from $3.4 million
The Springhill store, that co-located into the Foodland Store several years ago, had $2.01 million in sales, compared to $2.09 million the year before.
Parrsboro’s store had sales of $1.69 million, Pugwash had sales of $1.4 million and Oxford sold $1.17 million in liquor products. Joggins had sales of $377,900.
Provincially, the liquor corporation had net earnings of $221.6 million on sales of $588.9 million, representing an increase in earnings – less one-time gains and adjustments of $0.9 million and an increase in sales of $7.4 million compared to last year.
Wine sales were up 5.9 per cent and spirit sales increased by 2.4 per cent. Beer sales decreased by .7 per cent while ready-to-drink products dropped by 7.4 per cent. The volume of wine sold increased by 3.2 per cent, while spirits decreased by .2 per cent, beer was down 2.8 per cent and ready-to-drink products were down 5.3 per cent.
Beer represents about 50 per cent of the corporation’s profits and 80 per cent of its volume and Perkins said it’s very weather dependent.
“The weather this year has been pretty good and our sales have been better this year because of the warm and dry weather we’ve been having,” Perkins said. “If we don’t have good weather we end up with the challenges we had last year. A small change in beer sales, good or bad, has a big impact on our financials.”
Wholesale business with restaurants, pubs and bars jumped by 1.1 per cent to $105.5 million. Lincensee sales dropped by 2.6 per cent and sales to private wine and specialty stores increased by 16.7 per cent.