PUBLIX LANDS LIQUOR STORES BY ACQUISITIONS

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Publix Super Markets here plans to broaden its reach into the alcoholic beverage market this summer by taking over ownership of two liquor stores. The stores are adjacent to Kash n' Karry units in Orlando and Auburndale, Fla., which Publix recently acquired.These stores will bring the total of Publix-owned liquor stores to four. The retailer opened liquor stores adjacent to its supermarkets

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Publix Super Markets here plans to broaden its reach into the alcoholic beverage market this summer by taking over ownership of two liquor stores. The stores are adjacent to Kash n' Karry units in Orlando and Auburndale, Fla., which Publix recently acquired.

These stores will bring the total of Publix-owned liquor stores to four. The retailer opened liquor stores adjacent to its supermarkets in Miami and Kissimmee, Fla., last summer.

Today's highly competitive marketplace steers grocers to these types of arrangements so that they can best meet the needs of their consumers, said Gary Hemphill, executive director of the New York-based Beverage Marketing Corp.

"The retail landscape has blurred to such an extent and gotten so competitive that supermarket operators are looking for any potential edge in the marketplace that they can get. Selling alcoholic beverages to their customers, I think, is one way to do that," Hemphill told SN. "Certainly the position of most supermarkets is to be a one-stop-shop, particularly for stock-up type consumers and I think in that regard [the Publix move] certainly makes sense," he said. Hemphill added that he hasn't studied the relationship between supermarkets and alcoholic beverage sales enough to comment on what the negatives to such an arrangement could be.

Representatives from Publix declined to comment.

According to statistics from the Wine Handbook published by the Norwalk, Conn.-based Adams Beverage Group, provided to SN by the Wine Institute, San Francisco, Calif., 49.9% of wine, beer and spirits are sold off-premise, which includes supermarkets as well as mom-and-pop liquor stores and large-volume retail outlets. About 55.4% of wine alone is sold off-premise.

Currently, 22 states permit the sale of distilled spirits in supermarkets and an estimated 40 states allow the sale of beer and wine in supermarkets, said Lisa Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Washington.