Longer opening hours urged for ‘Vinmonopolet’

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A majority of Norwegians want the nation’s state-controlled wine and spirits retailer Vinmonopolet to stay open longer, and efforts are underway to extend its legally restricted opening hours.

Newspaper Dagsavisen reported Friday that a public opinion poll conducted by Respons Analyse AS for a beverage industry trade association showed that more than half of those questioned want Norwegian consumers to be able to buy wine and liquor during the same hours that they’re allowed to buy beer.

More importantly, perhaps, were poll results showing a political majority in favour of extended opening hours for Vinmonopolet as well. A broad majority of members of the Labour Party(Arbeiderpartiet), the Conservative Party (Høyre), the Liberal Party (Venstre) and the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) also favor longer opening hours, in line with beer sales rules.

That means allowing Vinmonopolet’s outlets to stay open until as late as 8pm on weekdays and 6pm on Saturdays, if municipalities go along. Local governments in Norway currently set the hours within state guidelines. Vinmonopolet’s outlets now must close at 6pm on weekdays and at 3pm on Saturdays nationwide.

Norwegians remain in support of Vinmonopolet’s state monopoly on wine and liquor sales, which has won special permission to continue operating from the European Economic Association, which otherwise forbids monopolies. The support, however, is seen as being contingent on increasing consideration of consumer demands.

Views and News staff