Grocery stores and alcohol sales

Is your business a grocery store?

A grocery store is a kind of premises for which an off-licence may be issued. The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 prevents dairies and convenience stores from holding off-licenses, so if you want to be able to sell (or be able to continue selling) alcohol and are not large enough to be a supermarket (section 32(1)(e)), qualifying as a grocery store is critical.

In forming an opinion about whether any premises is a grocery store, the District Licensing Committee/ARLA must have regard to:

  • the size, layout and appearance of the premises,
  • the annual sales revenue (or projection annual sales revenue) of the premises,
  • the number, range and kinds of items on sale (or expected to be on sale) on the premises.

A statement of annual sales revenue or projected sales revenue (verified by a chartered accountant for an existing business) must be provided when you lodge your application. The statement shows a breakdown of sales revenue for:

  • food products
  • convenience foods (such as ready-to-eat prepared foods like sandwiches)
  • alcohol
  • tobacco
  • other revenue, such as toiletries, hardware items, newspapers and magazines

It excludes GST, excise duty and excise-equivalent duty on tobacco products. 

The following legislation and regulations will assist you:

  • Sale and Supply of Alcohol Regulations 2013 provide further information around the definition of snack food and ready to eat prepared food (refer sections 8 to 11.)
  • Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 – sections 32 and 33

For existing businesses, the statement of annual sales should be for a 12-month period that ends no longer than 90 days before the date you apply. (Regulation 12)

For new businesses, the statement should be for projected sales revenue for the next 12 months. (Regulation 13)