Grocery Store Model for Liquor Sales Outlined

The Province has announced that in order to sell liquor under the new two-part grocery store model a store will need to maintain a traditional grocery store design.  To be eligible the grocery store will need to have approximately 75% of its sales coming from food products and must be a minimum of 929 metres (10,000 square feet) in size.

Under the new model grocery stores will be able to co-brand with liquor stores regardless of whether the liquor store is physically located in the grocery store.  There will be no minimum size requirements for liquor retail stores located within grocery stores.

The grocery store model will not apply to general merchandise stores, big box stores or convenience stores.

The Province has confirmed that there will be two models for the sale of liquor in grocery stores.  The first will be a “store-within-a-store” model, which will have a separate cash register and ensure restricted access to alcohol by minors.  The second model will see a limited number of licenses for the sale of BC wines off designated shelves within the store and purchased at designated cashiers.  Further details on these models will be released in the coming months.

The expansion of liquor sales into grocery stores will be limited, as the Province has reiterated its earlier moratorium on the number of private liquor stores that will be allowed.  In addition, it has indicated that the one kilometre rule (which limits the distance between liquor store outlets) will be maintained and expanded to include government liquor stores to ensure that the market does not become saturated and to protect the investment of existing private liquor stores.  Both of these measures will restrict the ability to open new liquor retail store operations in grocery store outlets.

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