NB Liquor saw an increase in sales during the final quarter of 2012-13, due in part to the end of the National Hockey League lockout, says the chief executive officer.

Total sales were $78.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, according to the Crown corporation's unaudited results.

That's up about $1.6 million compared to the same period the previous year, Daniel Allain, the corporation's chief executive officer, stated in a release.

Net earnings for the Crown corporation were $31.4 million, an increase of $1.1 million over the previous year.

"In talking with our employees and our licensees, we strongly believe that the return of the National Hockey League games has had a positive effect on sales," he said.

The NHL and the players' association reached a deal in January, bringing an end to the nearly four-month-old lockout.

Beer sales decreased by $1 million during the last quarter.

But wine sales jumped by $1.5 million, spirit sales increased by $1 million and the sales of other beverages rose by $100,000.

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NB Liquor's beer sales were down by $1 million, but wine sales jumped by $1.5 million, while spirit sales increased by $1 million. (CBC)

Allain said other factors in the positive results included "aggressive pricing strategies, such as the annual wine and spirits liquidation sale, and the Hot Deals marketing initiatives that have taken place in the past several weeks."

The latest results buck the trend of the three previous disappointing quarters.

"Strong store execution, gross margin improvement and expense management resulted in net earnings surpassing expectations and last years' results.," Allain said.