Vinmonopolet has posted a marked slip in alcohol sales for the month of April.

The Norwegian alcohol retail monopoly said yesterday (21 May) that sales in shops last month fell by 8% on the corresponding month in 2006 to 5.3m litres. Vinmonopolet blamed the early Easter this year, which fell in March compared to April last year, for the decrease.

As table wine sale fell 8.3% to 4.3m litres, spirits also slipped, by 6.4% to 903m litres. Beers sales were down by 3% to 0.03m litres.

For the first four months of this year, however, sales were up by 4.7%, with wine up 4.6% to 16.6m litres and beer up 2.5% to 0.1m litres.

Vinmonopolet came into being in 1996 after the retail and wholesale alcohol monopoly was split following the country's entry into the European Economic Area two years earlier.