Study shows 1 in 4 minors leave LCBO stores with booze; 1 in 5 from The Beer Store; Convenience stores best at testing for age

TORONTO, May 30, 2011 /CNW/ - An independent study of LCBO, The Beer Store and convenience stores has shown that the LCBO fares poorly when it comes to checking minors for age.  The study, conducted by independent research firm Statopex Field Marketing on behalf of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, used two groups of secret shoppers, minors aged 15-18 and young adults aged 19-24, to randomly test retailers on how well they check for age.

"Using professionally trained secret shopping candidates, we investigated how well each of the LCBO, The Beer Store and chain convenience stores checked for age in locations all around Ontario," said Jeff Wright, Executive Vice President, Statopex Field Marketing.  "Based on a trusted and proven secret shopping methodology, this study revealed that convenience stores test best when checking for age, followed by The Beer Store and LCBO."

When tested with underage secret shoppers (age 15-18), convenience stores scored the highest with an 87.3% pass rate, The Beer Store next with 80.7% and LCBO last with 74.6% - meaning 1 in 4 minors successfully purchased age-restricted products from LCBO, and 1 in 5 from The Beer Store - compared to 1 in 8 for convenience stores.

Testing with young adult secret shoppers near the age of majority (age 19-24) revealed that convenience stores once again scored highest with a 73.3% pass rate, next was The Beer Store with 65.9%, and the LCBO once again came in last with 40.5%.

In total, the study tested 105 of the LCBO's 611 stores, 98 of The Beer Store's 440 stores and 93 convenience stores.  The convenience store success rate testing for age shown in this Statopex study is consistent with Health Canada's secret shopping tests of over 300 chain convenience stores in Ontario each year.

"We did this study to measure how well we're doing our job of keeping age-restricted products away from minors compared to the government-run LCBO and the foreign-owned Beer Store.  The results surprised us.  Government officials have for years put the LCBO or the foreign-owned Beer Store up as the model for keeping age-restricted products from minors, but the facts paint a different picture," said Dave Bryans, President of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. "The results confirm that convenience stores lead the way when it comes to responsible community retailing and keeping age-restricted products, like tobacco, lottery tickets and even alcohol from kids."

Bryans added: "The convenience store industry sells more age restricted products than any other retailer and we've invested heavily in testing and training employees to minimize the risk of minors getting these products. Our driver's licence swipe ID check program, We Expect ID, has been invaluable in helping us do that job.  But there's still room for us to improve and we continuously work with our members to get better each year."

Mystery Shopping Results: Minors age 15-18

  Convenience Stores The Beer Store LCBO
# Mystery shop visits 63 57 63
# Minors denied 55 46 47
Pass rate % 87.3% 80.7% 74.6%

Mystery Shopping Results: Young adults age 19-24

  Convenience Stores The Beer Store LCBO
# Mystery shop visits 30 41 42
# Young adults carded 22 27 17
Pass rate % 73.3% 65.9% 40.5%

 

For further information:

Media may obtain a copy of the study or get comment from The Ontario Convenience Stores Association or Statopex Field Marketing by contacting:

John Perenack, Room 40 Communications
perenack@room-40.com (quick response)
416.238.2576