Build hospitals and transit with public dollars - not liquor stores - says Mac's Convenience Stores Inc.

TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Province of Ontario should be allocating public dollars to build hospitals and transit - not liquor stores - says a senior executive with Mac's Convenience Stores Inc.

"It's crazy that the provincial government is spending millions of hard-earned tax dollars to build more LCBO stores when our most pressing societal needs are for hospitals and transit," said Tom Moher, the company's Vice-President of Operations for Central Canada. "We in the private sector are quite capable of building facilities for the sale of beer, wine and spirits. The taxpayer shouldn't have to invest in LCBO bricks and mortar."

Moher was commenting on the LCBO's plans to build 34 new stores and 10 "express" stores - in addition to the 638 stores it currently has.

Mac's and the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) have been calling on the provincial government to permit the sale of alcohol in the province's convenience stores. A survey by the OCSA found that 67 per cent of Ontarians want to be able to purchase beer, wine and spirits at their local C-store.

In a speech to the Toronto Region Board of Trade on September 9, Moher pledged that within two years of being granted the right to sell alcohol at its 547 Ontario locations, Mac's will build 27 new, ultra-modern, $2-million stores across the province.

The new stores represent "$54-million of new, private investment in Ontario," Moher told his audience, "and that doesn't begin to include the millions of dollars Mac's will spend retrofitting our current stores for the sale of alcohol."

The new stores will create up to 170 new, full-time jobs, in addition to the 1,600 new, full-time positions that will be created at existing Mac's stores once the right to sell alcohol is received.

The Mac's stores to be built under an expanded alcohol retailing system would be similar to the company's gleaming retail facility in Thamesford, one of two Mac's "agency" stores in the province permitted to sell alcohol. The Thamesford store opened in December, 2012 at a cost of $3-million. (The other Mac's agency store is located in Craigleith.)

"Ontario consumers are telling the provincial government that it's time to modernize an antiquated, unfair alcohol retailing system," said Moher, who referred to the LCBO and The Beer Store as "a not-so-dynamic duo" that works against the interests of Ontario consumers in choice, convenience and competition."

An economic study last month found that artificially high retail prices permit The Beer Store to capture as much as $700-million in incremental profits, due to its monopoly on beer retailing in Ontario.

"The Beer Store," said Moher, "in case anyone doesn't know, is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev of Belgium, Molson Coors Brewing Company of the US, and Sapporo of Japan."

About Mac's Convenience Stores Inc.

Mac's Convenience Stores Inc. is part of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the leader in the Canadian convenience store industry. Couche-Tard operates a network of more than 10,000 convenience stores, globally and in all 10 Canadian provinces. It has 1,941 stores in Canada. Couche-Tard is a publicly-traded Canadian company with annual revenues of $37-billion in annual revenues. Shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: ATD.A and ATD.B).

SOURCE: Mac's Convenience Stores

For further information:

Laura Fracassi
Sussex Strategy Group

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