Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2018 Contents 76 | FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
RETAIL & WHOLESALE
iquor Barons heads into 2018 with a
mix of momentum, recognition and
clear focus, while being fully aware
that many of the challenges the liquor
retailing industry has faced in the past year are
The group is in a healthy position with a
clear model and strategy for growth that has
it well placed to meet those challenges and
continue to meet its profitability targets in the
future. Underpinning our strategy has been
a strong focus discipline to control our costs
while pursuing profitability and continuing to
invest in our brand. This has been especially
important in the current economic environment
allowing us to be well-positioned to take
advantage of the upswing in the economy.
There are certainly many healthy signs for
the West Australian economy with significant
growth in the mining sector, traditionally the
bellwether for overall economic growth in WA.
I am confident that this will reward our
stores who have all been through difficult times
during the past couple of years.
CHALLENGES IN 2017
The tough economic conditions during 2017
continued to bite and we saw the popularity
of the $10 and $12.99 price points grow. It is
evident that customers were looking for value,
and more particularly value at these lower price
points. It means that some very good wines
were re-positioned into these price points to
meet that growing demand.
Whether the signs of economic recovery
starting to flow through drive these popular
price points up remains to be seen. It may
be customers are now more aware of the
quality of wines they can purchase and will be
reluctant to move back up in price. Perhaps
that will be our challenge in the future.
Another major challenge has been trying to
get the best bang for our advertising spend.
There is no question that the advertising
landscape has changed rapidly in the past
few years with less reliance on traditional
advertising spend in newspapers.
Media advertising has become more
fragmented with a noticeable take-up in digital
and in the future that challenge will continue
to be balancing this spend to maximise
effectiveness. Understanding our target
demographic and how best to reach them will
be essential if we are to remain at the top of
our game in this increasingly complex zone.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2017
For 2017 a major highlight for the Liquor
Barons Group was winning the Retail Banner
Group of the Year at the Australian Liquor
Industry Awards (ALIA) for the fourth time
in six years. We beat the biggest names in
Australian liquor retailing, and for everyone
in the group from the head office through to
the stores who have committed so much to
the brand, this was a terrific endorsement and
reward for all that hard work.
It was also pleasing that we are starting to
see results from our investment in our ‘Far
from Ordinary’ campaign. This is a significant
investment for the group but one which I
believe will continue to build and deliver
sustainable longer-term results.
The overall success of the group and its
strong brand have contributed to the continued
growth of our co-operative member numbers.
When I started in this role eight years ago there
were 20 stores – we now have more than 70
and the number continues to grow.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR LIQUOR
During the next 12 months, we will continue to
focus on expanding our member numbers. We
aim to attract well managed stores which will
add value to our group, both financially and
reputationally, and for whom we can help grow
through our combined strength and expertise.
We will also continue to seek national
alliances with other like-minded groups.
A considerable focus during the next
year will be continuing to refine and drive
our push into digital marketing, not to be
confused with e-commerce.
And we will continue to expand the use of
our market leading data capability, particularly
through the Barons Advantage Club loyalty
program, for which I see tremendous
possibilities in enabling us to both attract and
retain customers to our targeted offerings.
I expect Prosecco to continue to grow on the
back of spritzer-style drinks but it could be that
we have seen the peak of the Aperol style with
other refreshing alternatives starting to make
There has been a significant return to quality
modern Chardonnays and this will continue in
2018. Winemakers recognised this some time
ago and consumers are really starting to support
them. We are also seeing increasing interest in
Australian and New Zealand Pinot Noir.
In the spirits category, there has been a move
away from blended Scotch to single malts
especially in the entry level price points.
And as a general trend it seems that WA
consumers are seeking and supporting locally
produced products and regional brands.
HOT TOPICS IN 2018
The hot topic in WA during the next year will
be the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) which
is scheduled to come in on 1 January 2019.
Experience from attempts to adopt this scheme
in some other states has highlighted many
challenges which will need to be addressed if
we are to have a smooth transition.
The act of managing the scheme will lead to
some price increases. As well as the logistics of
managing and implementing the scheme there
will be a significant communications issue to
help consumers to understand the impact of
The anti-alcohol lobby is likely to increase
its efforts and it is essential that the liquor
industry continue to use a fact-based approach
in addressing issues around problem drinkers.
In short, we need to be part of the solution
and at the forefront in working towards the
To continue to exceed our customers’
expectations, we are going to need a
fundamental change towards more flexible
trading terms that recognise that one size
doesn’t necessarily fit all. Differentiated
retailing is the way of the future and we
need to change how we all approach our
In many ways 2018 promises to be one of
the most interesting and dynamic years in the
history of liquor retailing in Australia.
CHRIS O’BRIEN, GENERAL MANAGER
Links Archive NLN DEC 2017 NLN MAR 2018 Navigation Previous Page Next Page