By Paul McBeth
Wednesday 10th December 2008
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Managing director Ian Morrice said the LLA's decision was "very disappointing." The Warehouse Cellars business was more costly to run because of the need for increased supervision and its viability was thrown into doubt when the retailer decided to exit grocery sales, he said.
"We have operated very responsibly in six stores for almost three years," Morrice said in a statement. The licence "could have enabled a responsible national chain to offer an alternative for consumers to supermarkets."
The exit cost is expected to be less than $1 million and will begin after the Christmas period.
The company announced it would enter the liquor retail market in November 2005 as part of its wider move into groceries. In 1999, founder and major shareholder Stephen Tindall ruled out alcohol sales while he was an executive of the company, but he later changed his position saying: "You can't really have a credible grocery offer without alcohol as well."
The retailer's stock has plummeted 50% over the last 12 months and it recently traded at $3.28.
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