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Convenience stores campaign to sell alcohol

GEELONG’S APCO stores will sell alcohol if a regulation banning the practise is reversed.

The Association of Convenience Stores is pushing for the change in a bid to compete with supermarket chains.
Geelong-based APCO Service Stations director Peter Anderson said alcohol would be available at all seven of Geelong’s APCO stores if the regulations were reversed.
“I think the Government should take away this anti-competitive legislation which prevents us selling alcohol,” Mr Anderson said.
“We already have drive-through bottle shops, so why can’t we have alcohol sales at convenience stores.”
Association executive director Jeff Rogut said it was a critical time for the industry and selling alcohol could provide a competitive edge.

“From our point of view, we really don’t have the opportunity to compete the way we’d like to,” Mr Rogut said.
“If you look at conveniences stores across the world such as in the UK, US, Asia and Europe they all have the ability to sell alcohol.”
The association has made a submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the retail industry, claiming the sale of alcohol will help it compete with supermarket chains.
The submission calls for liquor to be sold at larger branded stores, such as APCO, 7-Eleven, BP and Caltex not unbranded corner stores.
Mr Rogut said the alcohol retail market was very concentrated.

“The fact that products such as alcohol are not able to be sold through convenience channels unfairly restricts our stores,” he said.
Salvation Army spokesman Bram Cassidy said if liquor was sold at convenience stores, it would need to be strongly regulated.
“For many people in the community, the added convenience and accessibility of alcohol at convenience stores wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “But for many of the people we see, this extra level of convenience could be a problem.”
annika.smethurst@geelongadvertiser.com.au

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