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Lion to exit New Zealand retail business

Lion New Zealand says it will sell its retail business, namely its chain of Liquor King retail stores around the country. 

Lion has operated the retail network for more than 25 years and currently has 22 outlets, following the sale of three stores during the past few months.  

Craig Baldie, Lion NZ country director, said the retail landscape has changed significantly since Liquor King was launched and the company now sees its core business as manufacturing, distributing and marketing adult beverages, rather than retailing them. 

“Lion NZ has also become an increasingly complex business in a very competitive market and we believe a simplified focus will create space for us to unlock future growth in our core business,” he said in a statement.

“We have a hardworking and talented Lion Liquor Retailing team. We have not made this decision lightly and appreciate this creates uncertainty for those involved.”

Physical stores will continue to trade while the sale process is conducted in the coming months, however, the Liquor King website will be shut down on August 31. 

“Lion Liquor Retailing has been performing well and we believe there will be strong interest in the business based on the current retail market environment,” said Baldie. 

He said the successful sale of three outlets was a positive sign for the division’s future under new ownership.

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