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Liquor Sales Recover, Rise 6 % In Fourth Quarter; Full FY21 Number Declines 12 %

Markets such as Delhi and Chandigarh reported 2 per cent and 4 per cent growth, respectively, in January-March. The sales growth was flat in Assam.

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Sales of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) recovered in the January-March quarter with a 6 per cent growth, but it declined 12 per cent in 2020-21 on an overall basis.

States such as Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana reported over 40 per cent growth in IMFL sales during the fourth quarter of 2020-21, while Maharashtra and Goa reported 23 and 22 per cent growth, respectively, as against the year-ago quarter, according to data released by the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC).

'After an extremely poor first quarter (April-June 2020) due to COVID-19 lockdowns, sales showed a positive trend on an all India basis, improving through each quarter, and finally ending the year with a robust performance in the fourth quarter (January to March 2021),' said CIABC.

However, during the quarter, sales of IMFL in states such as Chhattisgarh reported a 31 per cent decline, 28 per cent in West Bengal and a 20 per cent in Rajasthan.

The highest decline of 52 per cent was in Meghalaya and 43 per cent in the Union Territory of Daman, Diu and Silvassa, the data said.

'Incidentally, majority of these states are ones that imposed high cess/tax during first wave of COVID-19, and unlike other states did not withdraw or reduce it. West Bengal and Chhattisgarh also made changes in the route-to-market which may have suppressed market's natural uplift,' it added.

Markets such as Delhi and Chandigarh reported 2 per cent and 4 per cent growth, respectively, in January-March. The sales growth was flat in Assam.

While for the fiscal year ended on March 31, 2021, total sales of IMFL stood at 305 million cases (9 litres each), which is nearly 12 per cent below than 2019-20.

'Though the sales picked up in the second half of 2020-21 in most parts, the states that imposed high coronavirus cess and other taxes after the first wave of COVID-19 showed poor recovery,' it said.

In the first quarter, trade was closed for most of the days due to lockdown imposed last year. It improved on a quarter-on-quarter basis and finally ended the year with a 'robust performance' in the fourth quarter, said the apex body of the Indian alcoholic beverage industry.

'While the liquor sales fell by a whopping 42 per cent in the first quarter of the last fiscal, it declined by 9 per cent in the second quarter and one per cent in the third quarter, before showing a recovery of 6 per cent in the fourth quarter,' it said.

The top-five states in terms of recovery in sales were Maharashtra, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, while West Bengal, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were among the big states that witnessed the largest declines over the previous fiscal.

'Many states showed positive trend through the quarters. Even though most states were unable to fully recover volume lost in first and second quarters, strong performance in third and fourth quarters reflects fundamental strength in the market.

'It also confirms that there is no lasting shift against alcoholic beverages in consumption baskets,' said CIABC Director General Vinod Giri.

CIABC members include major Indian companies that manufacture and market their product range in India and abroad.

According to estimates, the liquor industry contributes almost Rs 2 lakh crore to state exchequer through taxes and levies.