The Warehouse Group Ltd has said that it plans to apply for a licence to sell beer and wine in its stores on North Island. The New Zealand discount retail group also denied the suggestion that it was adopting alcohol as a loss leader to increase footfall in its shops.

The company announced that it has entered into a joint venture with Reliance Wines Ltd which will be known as The Warehouse Cellars. It added that it had secured distribution agreements with a number of major brands including Lion Nathan and Allied Domecq. The company plans to use its Tauranga outlet as a pilot store for alcohol sales.

Some pressure groups in New Zealand have been concerned that The Warehouse Group, New Zealand's largest general retailer by volume, plans to sell beer and wine at knock-down prices, and fear that it will fuel irresponsible drinking.