last updated 18/09/2020
last updated 18/09/2020
Liquorland is an outstanding opportunity in a sector that’s going on growing
At the beginning of 2020, sales at Liquorland’s 130 stores around New Zealand were already benefiting from a number of industry trends. These included a rise in home entertaining, the resulting growth in the premium drinks market, and increased demand in ‘better-for-you’ segments such as low alcohol, low sugar and low carb drinks.
So did Covid-19 put a halt to all that? ‘Covid has had its challenges but, as you might imagine, creating a good experience at home is a trend that has accelerated,’ says Liquorland CEO Brendon Lawry. ‘Our franchisees have been taking the opportunity to help customers try new products and create the experiences they want when having friends over.’
Brendon says that the quality, capability and experience of Liquorland’s franchises is central to the business. ‘Selling alcohol to Kiwis is a responsibility we take very seriously – it’s a privilege, not a right,’ he says. ‘And, like most service businesses, Liquorland is all about people. The better you treat your staff and customers, the more positive the outcome. If you understand this, and have the business acumen and retail skills to make the most of the opportunity, a Liquorland franchise can be a very sound opportunity.
‘In a retail environment, it’s the size of your heart and strength of your character that matters. An average Liquorland will have 3-4 employees. Standout retailers understand what it takes to enable their staff to be great, and can articulate what’s required to offer the customer the experience they deserve.’
A resilient business
Liquorland is part of Foodstuffs New Zealand, which also operates Pak’nSave, New World, Four Square and Gilmours. That gives the group massive buying power, and massive support, too – something that really paid off when lockdown hit.
‘Level 4 really pushed the limits of what our supply chain and stores could deal with in a very short timeframe,’ Brendon admits. ‘We set out very early on to focus hard on the things we could control, and poured our energy and focus into the Liquorland support network. There were daily crisis meetings to help everyone understand the directions from government agencies, and ensure we knew well ahead of time what our obligations would be at each Alert level. Our own Franchise Advisory Committee helped communicate these to franchisees.’
Brendon is proud of the level of support and assistance they were able to coordinate and deliver to franchisees during lockdown, covering such issues as funding and wage subsidies, deferment of franchise charges, negotiating extended credit with suppliers, rent relief, PPE for stores and a contact tracing tool.
‘But most of all, I’m proud of how our franchisees responded and how they performed once we launched the ‘Click and Collect’ service across all stores. As a result, they were soon trading strongly again. Liquorland has traditionally been pretty resilient in times of economic hardship and, with the right plans in place, 2020 is proving to be a challenge we can navigate too.’
The satisfaction of ownership
Sharon Wiggins agrees. Sharon was an accountant for many years, advising other people on how to run their businesses, and had long harboured a desire to do it herself. When the opportunity to purchase Liquorland Taupo came up, she jumped at the chance – and has seen her business thrive at a time when other retailers have struggled. ‘This is a strong cashflow business that, run properly, offers very healthy returns,’ she says.
Sharon is currently the chair of Liquorland’s Franchise Advisory Committee, which works closely with the support office. It’s a role she enjoys tremendously: ‘Keeping up to date with happenings in the liquor industry is paramount and I enjoy being involved in the strategic direction of Liquorland. We have a team of talented and enthusiastic franchisees around the country, and the FAC ensures franchisees are involved and informed to help us all keep the standard of our businesses as high as possible.
‘As a business owner, you have to understand your business drivers and be able to turn your hand to anything, but you must also be prepared to ask for advice when you need it. That’s where the franchise is so valuable – it provides a level of support that others can only dream of.’
That support includes a full promotional programme including FlyBuys and Airpoints, strong supplier terms agreements, marketing across digital, social and traditional media channels, data analytics and insights and, importantly, an operating model that shares profits with franchisees.
A great time to invest
As an experienced business owner, Sharon can’t recommend Liquorland highly enough. ‘Provided you’re prepared to learn all aspects of running the business and to work hard, it’s always a great time to invest in a Liquorland franchise,’ says the former accountant.
Brendon says that Liquorland has a number of locations available around the country, including new developments, conversion opportunities and existing stores being offered for sale with an established customer base as older franchisees retire.
‘We have a proven track record of success, a network of successful franchises and an excellent reputation as responsible and understanding employers,’ he says. ‘If you love retail, love delighting your customers and love the liquor business, contact us and find out more.’
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