Norway's alcohol retail monopoly Vinmonopolet has reported rising liquor sales in August.

The company said that sales had risen by 5% on August 2005 to 5.4m litres. Wine sales, which rose 5.6%, boosted the figures, Vinmonopolet said.

Spirits sales rose 3%, while beer sales leapt 5.6%. Sales of fortified wine, however, fell 3.9% during August, local reports said today (22 September).

For the eight months to the end of August, total alcohol sales at Vinmonopolet rose 3.6% to 43.3m litres.

Vinmonopolet was formerly both a retail and wholesale alcohol monopoly but was split up in 1996 under rules governing the European Economic Area.

The move saw the creation of Arcus-Gruppen, a state-owned company that took over the import and wholesale operations as well as the monopoly on alcohol production and bottling.