Norway's monopoly wine and liquor retailer reports strong sales growth for 2020

08 June, 2020

Norway’s wine and liquor monopoly retailer has reported 28% volume sales growth during the first five months of 2020.

The government-run Vinmonopolet said sales were broadly flat in January and February, but they have been on a strong upward curve since the coronavirus lockdown began in mid-March.

Travel restrictions have prevented Norwegians from purchasing cheaper alcohol abroad, while bars and restaurants were shut down for several weeks.

The on-trade is starting to reopen at reduced capacity levels, but travel restrictions could last for months, and Vinmonopolet is likely to enjoy strong volume growth throughout 2020.

Volumes increased 44% in May, and June is expected to be another busy month for the monopoly stores.

Vinmonopolet spokesman Jens Nordahl said: “Sales have increased, but not more than could be expected in light of the halt to border trade, duty-free stores and restaurants, bars and cafes.”

Norway will open up a travel corridor with Denmark from June 15, but it will maintain a quarantine with Sweden, which is a popular destination for Norwegians seeking to buy cheaper wine and spirits.

Sweden has taken a unique approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, as it is one of the few countries that did not impose a lockdown. That has seen it maintain the usual pattern of alcoholic beverage sales.

Finland has followed a similar trajectory to Norway. State-owned monopoly retailer Alko reported 23% year-on-year sales growth in April, following the decision to restrict international travel and shut bars and restaurants on April 4.


Nick Strangeway


Happy customers across the UK enjoyed their first pints and non-homemade cocktails at the start of July as its hospitality sector reopened after months of lockdown. But normal service has hardly resumed.