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More Booze on Dollar Store Shelves

“We want to be a convenient store,” according to one 99 Cents Only store manager.
October 7, 2013

​PHOENIX – Dollar stores such as Dollar General and 99 Cents Only are adding beer and wine to store shelves, a move they say is a “a matter of convenience,” writes The Arizona Republic.

“We want to be a convenient store,” Manuel Becerra, district manager for 99 Cents Only, told the newspaper. “You come to the store and you find everything you need.”

Crystal Ghassemi, a company spokeswoman, said Dollar General’s move to sell beer and wine was based on customer demand. 

Discount formats entering the licensed beverage space continues to blur the lines between retail channels of trade, noted NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard.

“What we’re seeing is, ‘Who really wants to be the inconvenient store?’” Lenard said. “Everyone is looking more and more like a convenience store.” Hardware and even clothing stores are beginning to look more like a mini convenience store at the checkout lane, with beverages coolers and racks of candy, snacks and gum. And even though a discount store customer isn’t planning to make a beer or wine purchase, they may do so to save a trip to another store, he added.

“It seems like today that everybody wants to get a liquor license,” Tim McCabe, president of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance, which does not include Dollar General or 99 Cents Only stores, told the news source. “This is a very competitive, cutthroat industry” in which retailers are battling over a limited amount of money spent on food and drinks…Anything that a retailer can do to sell something different ... they’re going to look at it.”

The number of discount/dollar stores in the U.S. increased significantly in 2012, up 5.8% from 2011, writes the newspaper, adding that in Arizona, about 40 Dollar Generals and 99 Cents Only stores have been granted a liquor license in the past few months, and another 30 stores have applications pending.

Read more on the threat of dollar store competition in NACS Magazine.