Despite initial days of good business, recent data released by the Karnataka Excise Department has revealed that both the sales and revenue through sale of alcohol have reduced in the state compared to last financial year.
At the end of May 2020, the Excise Department said that it has collected a revenue of Rs 1387.20 crore which is 42% the revenue collected on average per month last year. In terms of sales too, the department reported a dip of 54% at Rs 2148.48 compared to last year.
It may be recalled that after a gap of nearly two months, alcohol sales had resumed in the state from May 5 and till the end of the month, a total of 44.46 lakh case boxes of liquor were sold while the tally for beer is 12.29 lakh boxes.
TNM had reported that there was a bumper sale of alcohol on the first three days, worth Rs 216 crore, which is more than 10% of the revenue from the total sales recorded at the end of month. The second day after resumption of alcohol sales saw sales worth Rs 197 crore. Only Rs 45 crore worth of liquor was sold on the first day as many shops did not open despite the permission.
“There is unfortunately no record high sale at the end of the month. We are down to 42% of our revenue compared to last year and 46% of last year’s average volume. The initial spurt in sales are understandable given we were closed for a long period of time. We are short by Rs 1700 crore compared to last year,” Additional Excise Commissioner A Rajendraprasad told TNM.
The drop in sales at the end of the month can be partly attributed to bars, pubs and restaurants still being shut as part of the COVID-19 lockdown, and they are the major source of sales, especially for beer.
The officer added, “Only about 60% of our licenses are open now but our consumption is 46%; going by that, we should have had 60% of sales but that has not happened. There is no incentive for the customers in terms of lowering prices, but we are reviewing a decision to extend the hours of sales. At present, sales are only allowed between 9 am and 7 pm in retail stores. We will slowly try to enable other categories of sellers (like bars, pubs and restaurants).”