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Mac’s makes case for alcohol sales in Ontario corner stores

A Mac’s outlet in Toronto.

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Mac's Convenience Stores says allowing the chain to sell booze in its Ontario outlets would create 1,600 new full-time jobs.

The 547-store chain – part of Quebec-based convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. – says sales at stores which sell alcohol are "significantly higher" than regular stores, requiring more staff to handle the demand.

"We want to provide good-paying jobs for hard-working people right across the province," Tom Moher, Mac's vice-president of operations in Ontario, said in a news release Wednesday.

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"And of course, we want to provide our valued customers with a one-stop shopping experience. They're continually telling us that they want to be able to purchase beer, wine and spirits at Mac's."

The company did not say how it arrived at the estimate of 1,600 new jobs.

Mac's push for the opening up of beer, wine and spirits sales beyond the existing Liquor Control Board of Ontario and Beer Store network comes after a recent study for the Ontario Convenience Stores Association saying the provincial government would increase its revenue if alcohol was allowed to be sold in corner stores throughout the province.

The LCBO turns over about $1.6-billion a year in dividends to the Ontario government.

The association also said that a survey indicates that 67 per cent of Ontarians want to be able to buy alcohol at the corner store.

It has also launched a "FreeOurBeer" campaign.

"The people of Ontario are telling their politicians that it's time to modernize alcohol retailing in this province," said Mr. Moher.

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"We in the private sector can build facilities for the sale of beer, wine and spirits, versus taxpayer investment in bricks and mortar."

The Liberal government is experimenting with so-called express outlets in existing supermarkets.

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak has called for more choice and competition in the sale of alcohol in the province.

Alimentation Couche-Tard already sells beer in its 665 corporate stores in Quebec and at its 3,000 outlets in the United States and 1,400 locations in Europe.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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