INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—The Indiana House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development last week passed legislation by an 8-4 vote that would prohibit channel discrimination in wholesale pricing of nonalcoholic beverages—a problem impacting the convenience store industry across the country.
Bill author State Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) said he introduced HB 1221 after hearing from convenience store owners that different channels were able to buy packaged non-alcoholic beverages at different prices, which is a practice that can put smaller-format operators, like convenience stores, at a competitive disadvantage.
Quoted in the NWI Times, Soliday said, "These companies have bought from Costco, at retail, for less than they're paying wholesale, and these are people who buy by the truckload. And the [distributor] has gone to Costco and said, 'If you sell to them again, we won't sell any to you. This just isn't right.”
The legislation would prohibit distributors of nonalcoholic beverages from granting a price, discount, allowance or service charge that is not equally available to all retailers of the product, similar to the process used in Indiana's alcoholic beverage industry, according to a report in NWI Times. The legislation now awaits action on the full General Assembly floor.