Vinmonopolet (The Wine Monopoly), Norway's government-controlled wine and liquor stores, are losing revenue due to increased duty free sales and customers who shop in Sweden.
The Head of the Wine Monopoly (Vinmonopolet), Kai Henriksen, says that the situation is alarming, and asks the new government for help.
"The role of the Wine Monopoly as a political instrument to control alcohol, as well as the monopoly's legitimacy, are being threatened. We are losing the share of the alcohol that is being sold in Norway," says Henriksen. He asks the government to take a close look at what they can do to help prevent the situation to get worse.
The Wine Monopoly's sales steadily increased from 2009 to 2009, before it reached a plateau in 2010. This year the decline has been as high as 7,7 percent compared to the same time period last year.
The decline in sales has two main causes: A significant increase in duty free sales, and the steady growth in shopping across the border in Sweden.
Measures that may reduce these tendencies, such as lowering the limit for alcohol purchased abroad or reducing the tax on alcohol in Norway, will not happen, says Henriksen.
Instead, he thinks the monopoly will have to adjust and stay competitive by opening more stores and extending their opening hours. They also wish to expand on their online shopping experience, such as being able to show photos of their products.
Minister of Health, Bent Høie, says that he will look into the possibility of granting the Wine Monopoly permission to show images of their products in the online store.
"The Wine Monopoly's online store is helps to make sure that everybody in Norway has access to the Wine Monopoly's services," says Høie. "I therefore agree with Henriksen that this is something we should look into, and I will evaluate whether we should grant permission to use photos in the online store."
(NRK/Aftenposten) - Photo Vinmonopolet