Countdown stores penalised for underage alcohol sales

  • 22/09/2015
Countdown stores penalised for underage alcohol sales

A series of alcohol sale suspensions at Countdown stores across the country has authorities worried there is a problem with the grocery chain's systems.

Four of the brand's stores - three in Auckland - have had their licences suspended after a series of controlled-purchase operations last year found them selling alcohol to underage "shoppers".

The chain's Sylvia Park, St Johns, Lynfield and Paraparaumu stores were caught out as part of the series of stings - which led to them suspended from selling booze for periods of up to five days in September.

Their managers also had their certificates suspended for 30 days.

A fifth, on Cumberland Street in Dunedin, had its licence temporarily taken off it for selling illegally discounted alcohol.

In an August ruling, the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority said it was particularly concerned with the three Auckland stores caught out.

"This would appear to indicate systemic issues," the authority said.

"It is to be hoped that a systems review will prevent any recurrences."

In a separate ruling, it said it was worried the Paraparaumu store was the only one of 30 retailers in the area to be caught out by police.

In January the chain's Takapuna store was banned for selling alcohol for a week after it sold booze to a man in 2012 who was so drunk he could barely stand.

Comment has been sought from Countdown.