By Andrew Starke

Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) executive director, Jeff Rogut, has defended his organsiation’s push to be allowed to sell alcohol.

Earlier this week, convenience stores asked the Productivity Commission to consider a proposal for alcohol sales, claiming their profits are being eroded by rising electricity bills, labour costs and competition from supermarkets.

Caltex Starmarts, 7-Elevens and BP shops are among the stores represented.

Rogut said it was a critical time for the industry and selling alcohol could provide a competitive edge.

“Convenience stores in many parts of the world can and do responsibly sell alcohol products in their stores,” he said.

“In Australia the liquor industry is dominated by the major supermarkets with as much as a 58 percent share of a $16billion category.

“We see a competitive opportunity for convenience stores to participate in this category as well as a convenience opportunity for customers.”

Underpinning the association’s submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the retail industry is the claim that the sale of alcohol will help convenience stores compete with supermarket chains.

“The major supermarket chains continually announce expansion plans, and people complain about a lack of competitive tension in retail generally,” he said.

“The convenience industry can offer customers a choice even if it is on a limited range of products.”

Rogut added that members were able to responsibly sell age restricted products such as cigarettes and tobacco and were therefore able do the same with alcohol.

“While we acknowledge the health issues, the fact remains that there are already drive through bottle shops trading until midnight, and even later, in many areas,” he said.

“We are not advocating 24 hour alcohol sales and we would trade within the applicable regulatory frameworks.

“What we are seeking is a level playing field at a time when difficult retail trading conditions, high overheads and the increased dominance of the major supermarket chains is impacting many small businesses around the country.

“We are not advocating 24 hour access to alcohol and the industry will work with authorities on trading hour regulations as well as appropriate locations.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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  1. “What we are seeking is a level playing field …” Every recovering alcoholic and every alcohol addict is daily faced with the presence of alcohol promoted in every conceivable place and it is getting harder to avoid the constant temptation to drink. To sell alcohol in convenience stores and supermarkets would make it virtually impossible to avoid alcohol. The reality is that innumerable Australians find it very difficult to control their alcohol consumption with the current availability, and these are the people responsible for millions of dollars in costs to the community – costs associated with vandalism, drunken brawls, hospitalisation, extra police and the damage to families and communities caused by people who can’t control their drinking. There are arguably too many liquor outlets now. The level playing field is increasingly sloped against those struggling with alcolhol addiction.

  2. What a load of hogwash. the major chains have eroded profits in smaller independent liquor retailers now you want to make it worse. As the major chains are invovled in convenience stores now, wont this push only enhance the chains propositions of getting liquor sales into grocery stores. You that liquour sales will help convenience stores compete with the major chains, what a joke, many small liquor retailer’s cannot compete with the chains now and continually struggle to maintain profitable, esoecially in todays economic market.
    Mate, dont push for this and allow the major chains more growth and at the same time kill off small independent liquor retailers.

  3. So these guys are representing the convenience store under the guise of looking after the ‘small’ player in the market. Turn it up. The likes of Caltex, 7 Eleven and BP are as big business as Woolies and Coles. Please don’t take the independent liquor retailer as a fool, you fools.

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