Following rumours that the President would introduce a fourth ban on alcohol sales over Easter, liquor traders should be relieved that there will only be a brief pause on alcohol sales for offsite consumption over the long weekend. In fact, many bottle store owners will benefit from brisk trade as people stock up ahead of the weekend, says Steven Heilbron, the CEO of the Connect Group.

The brief pause on alcohol sales will leave taverns, pubs, restaurants and other venues for onsite consumption unaffected, while bottle store owners will be able to enjoy strong sales leading to Easter and still get to enjoy a long weekend with their families.

Easter is traditionally a lucrative trading period for the alcohol sector. “They depend heavily on peak trading times such as Christmas, Easter and other national holidays to make most of their income,” says Heilbron.

COVID-19 impact:
Despite the sigh of relief for the short ban on the sales of alcohol, the liquor industry which has already lost an estimated R36 billion over the previous three bans is under pressure to recover from the impact of COVID-19.  

Heilbron says, “Though we often hear the voices of the brewers, distillers and distribution companies in the news, government and other commentators often lose sight of the fact that it is the small trader that gets hit hardest by each ban on the trading of alcohol. Taverns and bottle stores, for example, are often small family-run establishments operating on tight margins.

“Many taverns, restaurants and retailers have struggled under the financial pressure of the lockdown over the past year. For those that have survived and are now starting to recover financially, peak trading periods are valuable opportunities to make up losses,” adds Heilbron.   

Survival and Growth:
“With an 8% rise in the excise tax on alcoholic beverages recently taking effect, companies involved in the alcohol supply chain face difficult times. Liquor traders must find ways to survive and grow their businesses.  Now is the time for them to innovate, find ways to increase sales and profits and to be clever about how to outsmart their competitors.  

There are alternative finance options that retailers can tap into for trading capital to capitalise on business opportunities. It is important that retailers take advantage of these solutions that provide access to fast, hassle-free business finance options. It is, for instance, possible to secure business finance from Capital Connect in just 24 hours, enabling retailers to grow, even in the midst of a global pandemic.