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NORWAY: Q1 alcohol sales on the up

Alcohol sales in Norway rose across the board in Q1, according to figures released today.

Alcohol sales in Norway rose across the board in Q1, according to figures released today. The country's former liquor monopoly, Vinmonopolet, said today that total sales of alcohol increased by 5% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2004.

Sales of strong alcohol drinks rose by 7%, while wine sales hit a new high at Vinmonopolet stores, climbing by 8% year-on-year. Beer sales also grew by 7% and sales of low-alcohol cocktail drinks also recorded a rise.

The increase in sales was credited to the opening of new liquor stores across the country and the high purchasing power of the Norwegian population. The country has also recently cracked down on liquor smuggling into Norway.

Regionally, sales grew markedly in areas close to the Swedish border, as Swedes made cross-border trips to buy alcohol.

In March alone, total liquor sales in Norway grew by 9% compared to the same period in 2003.