Tuesday, 1 April 2014

News: LCBO Express to Open in Selected Ontario Supermarkets

Ontario Liberals announce 10 LCBO kiosks as part of a pilot project.

Amid the splendour of the LCBO's Summerhill flagship (housed in the former North Toronto railway station), Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced the opening of 10 LCBO Express kiosks in selected grocery stores across the province. The roll-out is part of a one year pilot project and will see the kiosks opening by the end of the year.

Sousa said the move is aimed at increasing consumer convenience and would help to promote local Ontario wines and craft beers. The LCBO Express locations will be about 2,000 square feet, staffed by LCBO employees, and operate with similar hours as nearby LCBO freestanding locations.

The LCBO is owned by the province of Ontario and is one of the world's largest buyers and retailers of alcohol. It directly operates 635 retail stores and sells to both consumers and businesses.

Reacting to the announcement the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (which has been campaigning for beer sales in convenience stores) said the LCBO's moves fall short. "While it is refreshing to see the Ontario government agree that more convenience is needed in alcohol retailing.  The elephant that's still in the room is the 87 year-old foreign-owned Beer Store and the near monopoly it still has on beer retailing.  Today's announcement leaves in place the antiquated arrangement between the Ontario government and the three foreign brewers that dictate beer sales in Ontario," said Dave Bryans, the association's CEO.

Some supermarkets currently carry a selection of wine via Wine Rack concessions and there are also 219 LCBO agency stores which allow franchise owners in smaller communities to sell alcohol.

The LCBO is accepting proposals of interest from suitable retailers until May 9th.