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Coronavirus effects drive Alko half-year sales spike

The alcohol retailer reports selling 43.8 million litres so far this year, an increase of 13.5 percent on the same period last year.

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Sales of rosé wine were up by as much as 48 percent in June compared to last year. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland's state-owned alcohol retailer Alko sold 13.5 percent more litres of alcohol in the first half of this year than in the same period last year.

The coronavirus pandemic, which led to people bulk-buying and staying at home in the initial stages, as well as the closure of bars and restaurants, contributed to the increased sales.

In total, Alko sold 43.8 million litres of alcoholic beverages in the first six months of 2020.

This growth in sales has continued into the summer, and is reflected by the newly-released figures for June which show an increase in sales of 19.6 percent compared to the same month last year.

Wines proved to be especially popular with consumers in June, with the sales of rosé, for example, up by as much as 48 percent compared to June 2019.

Sales of non-alcoholic beverages also increased by almost 14 percent and spirits, such as vodka and whiskey, by 17 percent.

The government has recently lifted restrictions on the opening hours of bars and restaurants, which Alko's business director Kari Pennanen believes will have an adverse affect on Alko's sales volumes in the coming months.

Pennanen added however that the size of the impact is difficult to assess at this stage.

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