Home Office minister Alan Campbell reported this week that 526 people were found guilty by the courts of alcohol sales offences in England and Wales in 2007, compared to 855 the previous year.
But 2007 also saw 3,664 fixed penalty notices issued, compared to 3,242 the previous year and 2,090 in 2005.
Campbell said it was not possible to break down the figures into off and on-trade categories. He added that the 2008 data will be available this autumn.
Police have had the option of issuing fixed penalty notices to retailers who sell to under-18s since November 2004. FPNs are also issued to staff who sell to people who are drunk.