QUOTED: a market analyst on the LCBO’s questionable investment in its own supermarket-booze plan
“It’s astounding. I’m very, very surprised. It sounds like the LCBO doesn’t want them to sell booze in grocery stores because that’s a lot of space to have to give and a lot of restrictions.”
—Kevin Grier, a market analyst at the George Morris Centre in Guelph, speaking to the Star about the suspiciously intense list of requirements for grocery stores wanting to get their very own LCBO booze kiosk.
Earlier this week, the LCBO invited stores to apply to take part in its new year-long pilot project, which Ontario finance minister Charles Sousa spun as a good-faith effort to appease “Ontario consumers asking for more convenient options.” From the beginning, though, the plan seemed a bit half-hearted: the Liberals were only committing to installing ten kiosks—a pretty small number considering it applies to the entire province—and the eligibility requirements basically eliminated smaller independent grocers from the running.
Under the application criteria, eligible stores are ones that are over 15,000 square feet in size and don’t already have an LCBO nearby—but do have 2,000 square feet of space to spare (plus conveniently situated employee washrooms, or the space and extra cash to build them). Grier suggests that only a handful of supermarkets likely fit those specifications. All of which sort of makes it seem like the LCBO might not be taking the whole loosening-up-the-booze-rules thing seriously.