Rebounding ready-to-drink cooler sales, extra selling days, help boost LCBO first quarter results



    TORONTO, Aug. 7 /CNW/ - The resurgence of ready-to-drink coolers, robust
beer sales and six extra selling days led to 17.7 per cent ($136 million) net
sales growth at the LCBO in the first quarter of fiscal 2007-08, compared to
the same period last year.
    Even without the six extra days, LCBO sales in the quarter were up
8.5 per cent over the same period last year, according to unaudited results.
The LCBO is on track to top $4 billion in net sales by fiscal year-end
(March 31, 2008) and to deliver a 14th consecutive record dividend to the
Ontario government of $1.325 billion, $50 million more than last year.
    "Ready-to-drink coolers have been revitalized by appealing new products
and warm spring weather and finished the quarter up more than 23 per cent over
last year," said LCBO President and CEO Bob Peter. "This year's warmer weather
has also helped push beer sales 21 per cent higher."
    Although a smaller segment of the overall beer category, Ontario craft
beer sales grew by more than 42 per cent reflecting a growing interest in this
category.
    During the first quarter, which ran from April 1 to June 23, LCBO wines
sales were up 17.7 per cent. Sales of spirits rose 14.4 per cent, with premium
spirits up by more than 18 per cent. Tequila led all spirits segments with
almost 29 per cent growth.
    Sales through VINTAGES, LCBO's fine wine and premium spirits business
unit, were up more than 25 per cent. Gift card sales were also up 50 per cent
over the first quarter of 2006.
    "More and more consumers are looking to the LCBO as a good source of
unique gifts and our gift card sales reflect this trend," added Peter.
    During the first quarter, LCBO staff challenged, almost
459,000 individuals for appearing underage or intoxicated, a 24 per cent
increase over the same period in the previous year. Of those challenged, more
than 30,000 were refused service, up almost 29 per cent over the first quarter
of 2006. More than 98 per cent were challenged for age-related reasons and of
those refused 83 per cent were related to age.
    Leading up to each long weekend, LCBO has also been running high-profile
TV commercials to discourage drinking and driving.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Chris Layton, LCBO Media
Relations Co-ordinator, Tel. (416) 864-6772, Cell: (416) 587-3729, E-mail:
chris.layton@lcbo.com


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