FREDERICTON (GNB) – NB Liquor has released its unaudited results for the first quarter of 2012-13.

Total sales as of July 1, 2012, were $99.2 million, down $4.7 million (4.5 per cent) from the quarter ended July 3, 2011. Net earnings decreased by $1.1 million (2.5 per cent) to $41.5 million, primarily due to lower revenues resulting from five per cent fewer store visits.

As expected, beer sales and store traffic dropped in comparison to last year's first quarter due to the deep discount sale on beer last year, which accounted for $4.5 million in sales in 2011.

"When you adjust for the impact of the beer sale, plus the additional selling day in the previous year's quarter, we are actually ahead of the last year's net earnings pace," said Christopher Evans, vice-president and chief financial officer of NB Liquor.

Key product sales trends:

●    wine sales grew 1.4 per cent, up $200,000.
●    spirit sales declined 1.9 per cent, down $400,000.
●    other beverages declined 2.3 per cent, down $100,000.
●    beer sales declined 7.4 per cent, down $4.4 million.

A reduction of $200,000 in operating expenses from the previous year helped offset the effect of the revenue shortfall, as NB Liquor effectively managed its expenses in a period of lower sales.

"These results are in line with expectations for our first quarter of the 2012-13 fiscal year," said Daniel Allain, president and chief executive officer of NB Liquor. "We are working within the framework of the Report to Cabinet to make NB Liquor a better run, more profitable corporation, and we are pleased with the progress achieved so far in this first quarter of the 2012-13 fiscal year."

NB Liquor is a provincial Crown corporation responsible for the purchase, importation, distribution and retail sales for all alcoholic beverages in the province. It serves the public and licensees through 47 corporate retail outlets and 74 private agency store outlets. NB Liquor's product portfolio comprises 1,878 products, including wines, spirits, beers and other products such as coolers and ready-to-drink products.

NB Liquor also released the expenses of the board of directors and of the president and chief executive officer for the first quarter. The expenses are available online.