Retail Council of Canada research on move to expand the sale of beer and wine to corner stores, box stores, and additional grocery stores will create 9,100 new jobs, and a $3.5 billion dollar increase in GDP
A new report released by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) finds that providing greater choice and convenience when it comes to buying alcohol is not just good for consumers, it’s good for the province’s economy.
The report, titled Alcohol in Ontario: Choice & Convenience means GDP Growth, comes a month after Ontario’s Finance Minister confirmed that the province will be moving ahead with an expansion of beer and wine sales into corner stores, big box stores and more grocery stores. The announcement promised that greater competition in the sector will lower prices for consumers and expand product availability.
Based on an analysis of the British Columbian alcohol market, the report by RCC finds that liquor licensing a grocery store increases that stores’ sales by an estimated $880,000 and creates 2.3 jobs.
“That might not seem like much but keep in mind that Ontario is dead last in Canada when it comes to alcohol choice and convenience,” says Karl Littler, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations with Retail Council of Canada. “Ontario currently has the lowest density of retail outlets selling beer, wine, cider and spirits in the country. If the province increased its store count to the national average, the overall retail sales and number of jobs created would balloon.”
Based on Statistics Canada data, the Province of Ontario has 2.4 retail outlets per 10,000 people while the national average is 5.9 outlets per 10,000. To move to the national average, Ontario would add an additional 4,028 locations which would result in 9,100 new jobs, and a $3.5 billion dollar a year GDP increase.
The data in the RCC report counters recent statements by The Beer Store which stated that opening the market would mean a job loss of 7,000 full and part-time staff currently employed by The Beer Store. The report also calls into question statements that beer prices increase in an open market. On the contrary, the report found that after removing taxes, the price of 24-packs of beer in Ontario is 8.3 per cent more expensive than identical products in Quebec.
“This suggests that increased choice and convenience can also mean savings for consumers, as large grocers negotiate with suppliers to compete for business,” says Littler. “We support the Ontario Government’s decision to deregulate alcohol sales in this province because any decision that offers more choice, convenience, lower prices and creates more jobs is a win for consumers and a win for Ontario’s economy.”
About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest private sector employer with over 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $375 billion in 2018. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two-thirds of core retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As The Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. RetailCouncil.org
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