From: The Daily Telegraph – September 06, 2011 12:00AM
CONVENIENCE stores have launched a bid to sell alcohol because they claim their profits are being sapped by rising electricity bills, labour costs and competition from supermarkets.
Caltex Starmarts, 7-Elevens and BP shops are among the stores represented by an industry group which has asked the Productivity Commission to consider a proposal for alcohol sales.
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores executive director Jeff Rogut said if stores could sell alcohol it would even the playing field with the big supermarkets, which are allowed bottle shops.
He said convenience stores would also be hit by plain cigarette packaging next year and in some states business owners feared a “fat tax” on unhealthy items sold.
“By restricting the convenience industry from selling alcohol, the government is preventing a significant proportion of the retail market from exposure to a potentially crucial revenue stream at a time when threats from the major chains have never been greater and retail trading conditions themselves are extremely tough,” Mr Rogut said.
Mr Rogut said convenience stores in the US and Europe were permitted to sell alcohol.
“Convenience stores in many parts of the world can and do responsibly sell alcohol products in their stores,” he said.