Woolworths opens first standalone liquor store in South Africa offering an assortment of drinks

SOUTH AFRICA – Grocery retailer Woolworths has opened its first standalone liquor store dubbed WCellar, to better serve the liquor lovers in South Africa.

The dedicated store adjoining the Food Market of its Nicolway store in Bryanston, Johannesburg, offers a broader selection of crafted wines, co-created with leading wineries, as well as additional lines to cater for different tastes, such as an edited assortment of beers, craft beers, ciders and spirits.

Its design, according to reports by Bizcommunity, is intended to create a warm and safe ambiance as it will have an in-store sommelier (WCellar consultant), to guide customers with suggestions and recommendations.

“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,” says 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 says.

According to the company, it aims to open another WCellar store in the Gauteng region and roll out a national footprint in the future.

“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.”

Rebecca Constable – Senior wine buyer for Woolworths

The move will see Woolworths competing with a number of other retailers who 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 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, coupled with loss of jobs.

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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Retailer have in the recent past expanded their speciality offering with Shoprite, opening its first pet store in the country earlies this month, next to the newly revamped Checker’s outlet in the Cape Town suburb of Brackenfell.

The speciality store known as Petshop Science, is aimed to tap the growing consumer segment, with Flux Trends indicating that South Africans spend between R300 million (US$21) and R600 million (US$43) on pet food per year.

Being its inaugural pet store, Shoprite has indicated it will offer details on potential expansion in the future.

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