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Coronavirus shutdown provides NSLC with ‘unprecedented’ quarter

Click to play video: 'NSLC should promote local products: auditor general'
NSLC should promote local products: auditor general
Nova Scotia’s auditor general says the provincial liquor corporation needs to do more to promote local products. Jeremy Keefe reports – Jun 23, 2020

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation says the novel coronavirus provided them with an “unprecedented” first quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Sales increased by 5.3 per cent ($9.3 million) to $184.2 million between April 1, 2020 and June 28, 2020.

The NSLC says it did $166.8 million in alcohol sales and $17.3 million in cannabis sales.

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“This growth was driven by customers purchasing from NSLC and agency stores and staying home due to the closure of bars, pubs and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Crown corporation said in a press release.

Although there was a 24.4 per cent decline in the number of transactions, the NSLC said the average dollar value of each transaction increased 46.4 per cent as customers purchased larger amounts of alcohol or cannabis in order to make fewer trips to NSLC stores.

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That boost in sales helped the NSLC post a net income of $64.1 million in the first quarter.

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Local brewery coping with COVID through online fundraiser for local nonprofit

But the unprecedented sales has PC Leader Tim Houston calling on the government to reinvest the increase in sales in the hospitality industry, which has been hit hard by COVID-19 health and travel restrictions.

“These profits should be reinvested back into our hospitality industry. This money came out of the pockets of bars and restaurants and the Liberals should send that money back,” said Houston.

The Opposition leader referred to the idea of $200 tax-credits for every Nova Scotian to dine or stay-cation in the province.

Read more: NSLC sees growth in sales amid coronavirus pandemic

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It was a proposal firmly rejected by Premier Stephen McNeil at the time.

“I continue to hear from small and medium sized business owners struggling to land on their feet. If the Liberal government is really worried about our tourism and hospitality sector, it’s time they did something about it,” Houston said.

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