The Norwegian state alcohol monopoly, Vinmonopolet, reported a 6.7% rise in alcohol sales in January 2002 compared with January 2001.

Vinmonopolet attributed the rise in sales to a reduction in alcohol tax which came into effect at the beginning of January 2002, but it said that the opening of 17 new stores was also a contributory factor. Taxes were reduced by 5% for wines and by 15% for spirits.

The state-owned retailer sold some 3.37 million litres of alcoholic beverages in January 2002, compared with 3.16 million litres in January 2001. The most marked rise was in spirits sales which rose by 9.7% from 537,000 litres to 589,000 litres. Table wine sales rose by 6.2% to 2.67 million litres while beer sales at Vinmonopolet stores rose by 8.3% to 28,000 litres.