RD587 - 2017 Annual Report of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC)
During the four years I’ve served as chairman of Virginia ABC, two things have stood out—our commitment to excellent customer service and our reliability as a major source of revenue for the Commonwealth. It is clear that neither of these could happen without the continued dedication and hard work of the 3,794 employees who staff our stores across the state and those who provide enforcement, support services and leadership from our regional offices and Richmond headquarters.
Virginia ABC marked its 19th consecutive record-breaking year for sales in fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. Gross sales increased to $940.1 million, up $42.5 million over the previous year, while profits rose to $171 million, a jump of $6 million. Retail sales grew 4.6 percent and licensee sales (sales to restaurants) climbed 4.1 percent during the same time frame.
These profits combined with state and general sales taxes, as well as wine and beer taxes resulted in an all-time high of $449 million transferred to Virginia’s general fund, $15 million above last year’s contribution. ABC has contributed more than $9.9 billion to the general fund since 1934 to support state services, including substance abuse prevention and treatment.
This robust growth in sales and service is directly attributable to our concentrated effort to respond to the needs of the 21st century marketplace. Our newly minted online retail operations, innovative marketing campaigns, locally driven product mix and modernized store designs all demonstrate our strategic approach to reinvestment and advancement of the business to ensure continued success.
Our financial performance during the fiscal year can be attributed in part to the opening of nine new stores across the state which generated $7.5 million in sales. Our strategy to continue to grow our store portfolio is a major component of this consistent revenue growth. We also oversaw six store remodels and 13 store relocations to improved market areas, enhancing customer service and accessibility. Sunday sales also continue to play a role in the rising revenue, increasing by $6.9 million or 13.2 percent in fiscal 2017 to $59 million with an additional hour of operation.
The agency continued with preparations for its transition from an agency to an authority structure that will begin in January 2018 by developing and embracing new corporate principles— a mission, vision and four core values of accountability, service, integrity and performance excellence. Dozens of policies and procedure were rewritten in laying the foundation for the agency’s transition.
Other notable milestones included the launch of the monthly Mini Monday program where customers receive a complimentary 50ml bottle of a new product with a purchase of $25 or more of spirits or wine. ABC also offered its first in-store redeemable coupons on Repeal Day (Dec. 5) and Father’s Day to drive incremental purchases. We enhanced the functionality of our website by adding a dedicated search platform and unique store pages for every location. We expanded online ordering to include almost every product.
The excellent fiscal 2017 results reflect the solid commitment of Virginia ABC’s employees and our industry partners. During the past four years, ABC’s annual gross sales have grown from $800 million to $940 million, more than a 17.5 percent increase. In this same time period we opened 27 new retail stores, relocated 31 and remodeled 25. Our future growth and success will continue to recognize our many strengths as we devote our time and attention to the advancement of Virginia ABC.
Jeffrey L. Painter