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Woolworths to open standalone liquor stores

Grocery retailer Woolworths has announced plans to open its first standalone liquor store – WCellar.

The first store will act as a standalone concept adjoining the food market of the Woolworths Nicolway branch in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

The aim is to open another WCellar store in the Gauteng region, with a view to rolling out to a national footprint in the future, the group said.

The initial store, which opens on 27 May, will offer a selection of wines, beers, craft beers, ciders and spirits.

“At Woolworths, we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve on our offering of quality products, so we’re really excited about the launch of the WCellar brand extension,” said Rebecca Constable, senior wine buyer for Woolworths.

“The selection of drinks has been carefully curated by our team of experts, and we’re confident that our customers won’t need, or want, to go anywhere else for their complete shop,” she said.

The move will see Woolworths competing with a number of other retailers which currently offer standalone liquor stores – including Spar’s TOPS brand and Pick n Pay Liquor.

Alcohol sales have remained a point of contention since South Africa first entered into its Covid-19 lockdown at the end of March 2020.

The alcohol industry subsequently lost over 20 weeks of work, with three separate bans instituted and billions of rands lost in taxes and revenue.

One of the biggest issues has been caused by the uncertainty of the bans and lack of forewarning from the government, with concerns that South Africa could face further restrictions on the sale of alcohol as it faces a third wave of covid-19 infections.

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