PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon's 3-month-old pilot program to expand liquor sales to supermarkets has kicked some life into store revenue.
Lamb's Thriftway here, the first store to participate in the pilot, recorded $81,326 in liquor sales the first month, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Ray's Food Place in Bend sold $61,825 worth in its first month, which ended Nov. 6. Quality Food Center in Portland, whose pilot began Oct. 26, sold $28,349 in spirits through Nov. 6.
"I think that our store people are happy with this, because this is pretty high," said Ken Palke, commission spokesman. "This is early. This is before they developed their business."
So far, the pilot location sales have come mostly from regular shoppers, not from bars and other license holders that are required to buy their liquor from state-run stores, Palke said.
Of course, whether liquor sales will be worthwhile profit centers for Oregon supermarkets remains an unknown, Palke added.
The commission plans to open six of these self-contained stores with separate cash registers in the next two years. It projects annual sales of $1 million per store. Negotiations are underway to open the fourth location in a South Portland Albertsons store, Palke said.
Pennsylvania, another control state that recently expanded liquor sales to supermarkets, reported that sales increased 7.6% to $277.4 million in the July through September quarter, in part due to sales at four newly opened wine and liquor stores in supermarkets.