The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

West Auckland liquor stores stop selling spirits and RTDs

West Liquor

Queues at West Auckland liquor stores are set to ease as the result of new restrictions on the sale of spirits through the outlets.

From Monday, April 6, The Trusts retail stores will no longer sell spirits and RTDs – reducing the need for out of area consumers to travel across town to purchase alcohol. The policy will last while the country remains at COVID-19 alert Level 4. 

The move will see the product mix aligned with supermarkets and other retailers open during the current lockdown which sell only beer, wine and cider, and comes following consultation between The Trusts and NZ Police. 

The new regulations were put in place after the retailer’s analysis of purchase data in some of their stores showed the sale of spirits as a proportion of total alcohol revenue had lifted significantly since the lockdown began and the collection of customer addresses revealed up to a quarter of them lived outside of West Auckland.

Matt Williams CEO of The Trusts says their first priority is the safety of the general public and staff.

“While there was a negligible change to our customer profiles in some of our stores, we were greatly concerned to find there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that a number of people are travelling from other parts of town to purchase from us.

“We don’t believe this is in keeping with the Government’s mandate to restrict the movement of people and the spread of COVID-19 and, as a result, we have modified our product mix – reducing the incentive for Aucklanders to leave their area,” he says.

“We regret the inconvenience this may cause to our West Auckland community who have supported us throughout the lockdown, however we know they will understand that as a community-minded organisation health and safety must take precedence.”

Williams says the store’s trading hours will remain the same for the time being but are continuous review in response to the level of customer demand. Similarly, the sale of spirits policy will be reviewed when the country moves to alert Level 3. 

The retail purchase of spirits and RTDs will still be possible through a number of online retailers around the country.