Six-week alcohol licence suspension starts for Countdown Blenheim

Countdown Blenheim has blocked off its liquor department as its six-week suspension starts this week.
JENNIFER EDER/FAIRFAX NZ

Countdown Blenheim has blocked off its liquor department as its six-week suspension starts this week.

Customers at Countdown Blenheim will need to buy their alcohol elsewhere while the store's alcohol licence is suspended.

The supermarket was sentenced to a six-week suspension after it was caught selling alcohol to minors during a police operation in September last year.

A 17-year-old boy was able to purchase a bottle of wine despite showing the supervisor identification which showed he was underage.

It was the fifth time the store had been caught selling to minors since 2006.

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The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority announced its decision to suspend the supermarket's licence for 42 days on March 13.

The suspension started on April 26 and would end on June 8.

Shelves of grocery items were used to block off the liquor department near the store's entrance from Tuesday.

Countdown head of corporate affairs James Walker said he would not reveal the amount of income the store was expected to lose over the six-week period, citing commercial sensitivity.

"We are most concerned that we made a mistake with respect to the responsible sale of alcohol, and we are really disappointed that our customers are being inconvenienced," Walker said.

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Rita Dudley, a retiree of Blenheim, said the suspension was extremely inconvenient.

"There's hundreds of us here who like a bottle of wine with dinner."

The new Countdown Redwoodtown, in Blenheim, was also unable to sell alcohol despite its liquor licence application being granted by the Marlborough District Licensing Committee.

Medical officer of health Andrew Lindsay and a licensing inspector opposed the layout of its liquor department next to the store's entrance because it had high exposure to customers.

They had until the end of Thursday to lodge an appeal.

 

 - The Marlborough Express

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