Supermarkets have snatched more than £1bn in alcoholic drink sales from c-stores and off-licences since 1997, according to ACNielsen. Figures show grocery multiples have increased their share of the liquor market by 6% in the last four years and now have almost 60% of the market. Colin Bunn, ACNielsen marketing manager, said the multiples had experienced average growth in liquor sales of 6.9% year-on-year. Specialist off-licences, meanwhile, had seen just 0.4% year-on-year growth and a 13% decline in market share from 22% to 19%, since 1997. The success of the multiples in the liquor market was encouraging more CTNs and independents to sell alcohol, said Bunn. This trend was helping to stop declining store numbers but the amount of independent off-licences was falling by 12% per year. Bunn said off-licences could survive by expanding their retail offerings by exploring forecourt franchises or by developing in-store tie-ups with the multiples. They also had to use stores better and improve range and merchandising. {{NEWS }}