DISCUS

SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES - A Convenient Option for Massachusetts Consumers

October 7, 2003 08:00 PM
Allowing sales of distilled spirits on Sunday in Massachusetts would give customers added convenience and lead to increased revenues for the Massachusetts State Treasury. In fact, the Distilled Spirits Council estimates that Sunday sale of spirits would generate between $1.5 and $2.1 million in new tax revenues for the state. I. Customer Convenience and Impulse Buying Ø Archaic Blue Laws make no sense in a 21st Century economy. Sunday has become the second busiest shopping day of the week. In today’s modern society, the majority of families are comprised of dual income adults who do most of their shopping on the weekend. Ø For the important 35-54 year old demographic cohort, Sunday is the second most important grocery shopping day of the week. Ø A separate A.C. Nielsen study concluded that shoppers are more likely to buy on impulse on weekends than on Monday-Friday. By limiting spirits sales to Saturdays only, the amount of impulse susceptible exposure time distilled spirits customers have is cut in half. Ø Shoppers tend to spend more on Sunday’s than any other day of the week. While the typical grocery basket contains only $23.27 of goods Monday-Saturday, the Sunday basket has $28.23 – 21% more than other days of the week. II. Benefits to Massachusetts Not only would customers benefit from Sunday spirits sales in Massachusetts, but the state would benefit as well. Currently, the combination of high excise taxes and limited shopping opportunities depress state liquor sales. Many potential customers either do not buy at all, or simply make their purchases in neighboring states. Ø The analysis indicates Sunday sales will result in a net increase in sales and not merely spread current sales out over more days. Ø By opening on Sunday’s it is estimated that Massachusetts sales volume would increase by between 154 and 216 thousand 9-liter cases annually. This increased volume would translate into additional sales tax and excise tax revenues for the State of Massachusetts. Ø In fact, on a 750 ml bottle of spirits Massachusetts collects $0.80 in excise taxes. From expected volume increases, then, Massachusetts would collect between $1.5 and $2.1 million in new revenues. III. More and more states are re-considering their Sunday sales prohibitions Ø Over the last 18 months, five states have passed laws permitting Sunday sales – Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Rhode Island (Sunday sales during December holiday season), bringing the number of states that permit Sunday sales to 27. Ø Recent implementation of Sunday Sales in Pennsylvania and Oregon have resulted in an immediate boost to state tax revenues. Pennsylvania’s sales are up 10 percent since Sunday sales have gone into effect. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Chairman Jonathan Newman, has called Sunday sales a “grand slam homerun” and reports that Sunday sales have not detracted from sales results on other days. In Oregon, a survey by the State Stores Association found that stores open on Sundays have increased their revenues between 9.2 and 19.6 percent. IV. Sunday sales give Massachusetts retailers more choices Ø Currently, Sunday sales are only permitted during the holiday season and by retailers within 10 miles of a neighboring state that allows Sunday sales. Many other retailers in the state, especially those just beyond that 10 mile limit and those in tourist areas, want the opportunity to compete for more business. Ø Legislation permitting Sunday alcohol sales would not force retailers to do business on Sunday. It simply gives them the right and flexibility to decide whether or not to open. If you are interested in discussing this topic with a representative from the Distilled Spirits Council, please call Frank Coleman or Lisa Hawkins, at (202) 682-8840. www.distilledspirits.org CONTACT: Frank Coleman or Lisa Hawkins Telephone: 202-682-8840 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:
 

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