Takealot waves Dry January goodbye

Takealot has started selling alcoholic beverages again after suspending sales of the products for more than a month.

While it is unclear exactly when South Africa’s biggest online store restored its liquor catalogue, it sent a newsletter email to customers on Friday, 2 February 2024, with the subject line “Wave goodbye to Dry January”.

The email promotes Takealot’s latest deals on liquor products.

Dry January refers to a campaign started by Alcohol Change UK several years ago, encouraging people to abstain from consuming alcohol for the first month of the year.

In Takealot’s case, however, it had run into a potential licensing dispute with provincial authorities.

As a result, it abruptly stopped selling alcohol as early as 22 December 2023 without any advance warning to customers.

The suspension continued over the lucrative Christmas and New Year’s period and extended well into January 2024.

Takealot initially didn’t explain the suspension, with support agents only telling users online it had temporarily banned liquor sales but that they should be available again “soon”.

Takealot’s “liquor “catalogue as of 19 January 2024.

After a follow-up with the retailer in early January, Takealot told MyBroadband it was engaging with liquor authorities to ensure its liquor licences were technically appropriate for e-commerce.

“Although our business model has not changed at all while operating under the licences we have, we unfortunately have been directed to not retail liquor while we reach alignment,” Takealot said.

“We will work as quickly as possible to resolve this matter as we recognise the impact this will have on some of our sellers, suppliers and customers.”

The suspension has presumably had a massive impact on liquor resellers that use Takealot’s platform to sell their products.

The holiday period is typically one of the most lucrative as people buy alcohol to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s and relax while on leave.

Takealot’s restored liquor catalogue, as of 2 February 2024.

Takealot confirmed to MyBroadband that it was once again permitted to sell liquor, although it continued to engage the liquor authorities to ensure that its liquor licences were technically appropriate for ecommerce.

South African Medical Research Council director Charles Parry previously questioned whether the licensing problem might have been due to the retailer not having liquor licences in every province.

Takealot holds a national liquor distribution licence with the National Liquor Authority (NLA).

However, retail sales of alcohol are handled at the provincial level.

According to an official FAQ for liquor sales on Takealot’s website, the retailer sold alcohol under the licence number “WCP/040408 (cmats: 2013/572)”, which means it had a licence to sell liquor in the Western Cape.

The FAQ section still only had this licence number listed at the time of publication, but it is possible that Takealot has yet to update it.

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Takealot waves Dry January goodbye