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State booze retailer Alko announces 8.5% sales drop in 2018

The alcohol monopoly said that despite declining sales, overall alcohol consumption in Finland was up last year.

Olutpulloja alkon hyllyssä.
Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Finnish state alcohol retailer Alko announced that 2018 sales were down and that its turnover last year fell to 543 million euros, compared to 596 million euros the previous year. It also announced on Tuesday that operating profits had decreased to 46 million euros from the previous year's 53 million euros.

The firm said sales were hurt by supermarkets and other stores gaining the legal right to sell beer and alcopops containing up to 5.5 percent alcohol last year.

Alko CEO Leena Laitinen said profits were better than the company had anticipated, saying that the decline was a direct result of the alcohol reforms.

The reforms went into effect at the beginning of last year. Previously grocery and convenience stores could only sell beverages that contained a maximum 4.7 percent alcohol.

Shortly after the reforms were put into effect, Alko began to report declines in sales.

The firm reported in January 2018 that sales of "lonkero" alcopops fell by 39 percent, beer by 27 percent, and cider by 12 percent in terms of volume. Overall, Alko's litre sales dipped by nearly eight percent year-on-year.

Despite the sales decline, Alko said that overall alcohol consumption in Finland grew by 0.6 percent. According to an announcement by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) last month, the overall sale of alcohol in Finland had been in decline since 2011, but last year that figure went up slightly.

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