Swedish drinks monopoly Systembolaget has announced another monthly drop in sales as a result of its neighbours’ massive tax cuts.
Total alcohol sales fell by 7.7% in April compared to the same period last year. Spirits fell by 18.3%, wine by 4.9% and beer by 4.9%.
According to reports, sales suffered most in Vastra Gotland and Varmland counties, close to the border with Norway, and in Norrbotten county, which is near the Finnish border.
Taxes on alcohol in both those countries are markedly lower than in Sweden. In October last year Denmark and Finland cut its drinks taxes by 47%. Last month Finland slashed duty by 40%.
Both countries cited the accession to the EU of the Baltic countries, notably Poland and Estonia, as the reason. The new EU states are easily accessible and have much lower taxes than their neighbours.
The Swedish government is reported to be considering reducing drinks taxes.
In March this year decanter.com reported that the Scandinavian monopoly system would not survive more than five years, because of the easy accessibility of cheap drinks in neighbouring countries.
Written by Adam Lechmere, and agencies