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Grocers' association concerned about LCBO Express size requirements
Finance minister Charles Sousa announced today that liquor kiosks will be opened up in 10 supermarkets as part of a pilot project. The stores will require 2,000 sq.ft. for the kiosks.
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There are pros and cons to the provincial government's LCBO express announcement, according to the association that represents small to medium-sized grocery stores and chains.

Finance minister Charles Sousa announced today that liquor kiosks will be opened up in 10 supermarkets as part of a pilot project.

The stores will require 2,000 sq.ft. for the kiosks.

Gary Sands with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers says the project is a good first step, but he is concerned about the size requirement.

"In an industry where margins are about 1 to 1.5 per cent... that's very difficult, to take that amount of space that generates revenue out of a store," Sands says.

The CFIG hopes the government will consider adjusting the criteria so that small stores can also participate.

Karl Littler with the Retail Council of Canada, meanwhile, which represents large chains like Loblaw, Sobey's and Metro, says the LCBO also has something to consider here.

"They're going to obviously want to maintain their reputation for reasonably diverse product offerings," Littler says. "And some of that is going to require minimum space."

Sands says he doesn't want to see the program benefit only the large stores.

"Once you open that door, you have to ensure that it's being done in a fair and equitable process," he says.

"We don't want to see the LCBO stand for the Loblaws Control Board of Ontario."

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There are pros and cons to the provincial government's LCBO express announcement, according to the association that represents small to medium-sized grocery stores and chains.

Finance minister Charles Sousa announced today that liquor kiosks will be opened up in 10 supermarkets as part of a pilot project.

The stores will require 2,000 sq.ft. for the kiosks.

Gary Sands with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers says the project is a good first step, but he is concerned about the size requirement.

"In an industry where margins are about 1 to 1.5 per cent... that's very difficult, to take that amount of space that generates revenue out of a store," Sands says.

The CFIG hopes the government will consider adjusting the criteria so that small stores can also participate.

Karl Littler with the Retail Council of Canada, meanwhile, which represents large chains like Loblaw, Sobey's and Metro, says the LCBO also has something to consider here.

"They're going to obviously want to maintain their reputation for reasonably diverse product offerings," Littler says. "And some of that is going to require minimum space."

Sands says he doesn't want to see the program benefit only the large stores.

"Once you open that door, you have to ensure that it's being done in a fair and equitable process," he says.

"We don't want to see the LCBO stand for the Loblaws Control Board of Ontario."

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