Vinmonopolet has reported a slight rise in alcohol sales for last year.

The Norwegian alcohol retail monopoly said yesterday (16 January) that sales for 2005 were up 4.9% on 2004.

In the month of December, alcohol sales increased by 4% year-on-year to 9.5m litres. Vinmonopolet credited the increase to a rise in the purchasing power of Norwegian citizens, the opening of new stores and the reorganisation of shops into self-service outlets.

While table wine and spirits sales in the year rose by 5.7% and 2.5%  to 52.9m litres and 11.7m litres respectively, fortified wine registered a slight dip of 4.7% to 1.1m litres. Beer was static last year at 0.7m litres.

Late last year, Vinmonopolet was hit by bribery allegations and a police complaint over the probing of staff emails. The company's chief executive, Knut Groeholt, subsequently resigned after board chairman Harald Arnkvaern stepped down.