P.E.I. liquor store sales reflect trends in population

Wayne Thibodeau
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Two P.E.I. liquor stores saw a drop in sales last year.
Sales at the Wellington liquor store dropped by more than $7,000 while sales in Wood Islands fell by more than $2,200.
Brooke MacMillan, CEO of the Liquor Control Commission, says trends with liquor store sales reflect trends in Prince Edward Island population. He said more people are moving to urban areas and more liquor is being sold at urban liquor stores.
Sales at stores in Charlottetown were up by nearly $1.7 million while sales at stores in Summerside increased by more than half-million dollars.
Sales were also up a half-million dollars in Stratford and Cornwall.
"If you see where we're seeing most of our growth, we're seeing it in Cornwall, you're seeing it in Stratford," MacMillan told The Guardian.
"It's people moving to larger urban centres. You can see it in the sales here."
Charlottetown's Oak Tree Place store is still the largest grossing store in Prince Edward Island
with sales this year of $14.2 million. That's an increase of $860,000.
The new store in West Royalty, in the Sears mall, had $11.5 million in sales. That's an increase of $560,000.
Wood Islands is the least profitable store with sales last year of $540,000, down more than $2,200.
MacMillan said the Wood Islands store was closed a month earlier than normal last year because of poor sales.
It is the province's only seasonal liquor store.
"If you were there working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. they were seeing 18 to 19 customers a day," he said.
"We're in a situation where you have to employ two people. You always have to have two people on staff."
So is the Wood Islands liquor store still viable?
"The infrastructure is there," he said.
Total sales for the year ending March 31, 2009 totaled $85.1 million.
Canned beer, beers of the world and an increased wine selection is being credited for increased sales, so too is Sunday shopping.
"When Sunday shopping came in you could see the bump in the sales."
Rum is still the top spirit.
Captain Morgan is by far the most popular rum, something that bucks the national trend.
Islanders drink six times more Captain Morgan per capita than drinkers in other provinces.
White wine is the top grossing wine.
Sales of coolers declined in 2009, mainly due to the colder summer.
But the top-grossing product by far is beer, which represents about 50 per cent of all liquor store sales.
The Liquor Control Commission is planning to continue to renovate its liquor stores, and continue to expand its product line, which should lead to more sales.
The commission is planning a major upgrade at its flagship store, Oak Tree Place. It hasn't been updated for nearly 10 years.
A new store is now being built in Stratford.
"If things work out, we'll be awful close to $90 million in sales next year.

Organizations: Liquor Control Commission, The Guardian

Geographic location: Wood Islands, Stratford, Prince Edward Island Charlottetown Cornwall Oak Tree Place Summerside West Royalty

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Recent comments

  • Meeeeeeee
    September 14, 2010 - 21:55

    ? No liquor stores past Summerside? and did Montague fall off the map? Just saying...a bit more of a report on sales ACROSS THE ISLAND would be interesting. Kind of like when they talk about Canada being from BC to NS and oops there went Newfoundland and PEI. Guess they drop in the ocean at times. ....that all said...a bit of a bigger parking lot in the Montague liquor store would be nice. lol

  • Lord BLESS us and SAVE us
    June 21, 2010 - 20:43

    Wood Islands sales down.. 'more than $2200' over the year...- Great News!! 1 person gave up the booze!! - hopefully an impaired driver doesn't get him/her.

  • Don't break your arm
    June 21, 2010 - 20:38

    Sales up at a booze monopoly? Wow. How ever do they stay ahead of their competition? Oh wait. They don't have any!

  • Old Time Liberal
    June 21, 2010 - 20:35

    Poor Brooke. Tainted by PNP forever. When islanders hear his name they can't help but think of how him and his wife got hundreds of thousands of dollars approved on the 2 days the PNP was opened back up after initailly being shut down.

    After months of giving away PNP money to his Liberal friends, he couldn't help but dip into the PNP trough for cash for himself.

    And this after getting the biggest patronage job in PEI, CEO of the Liquor Corporation.

    Liberals everywhere rejoice at his new found fortune.

  • beer belly
    June 21, 2010 - 20:34

    One day Brooke you saying how well a seasonal liquor store in cavendish will do
    now your saying seasonal liquor stores
    are loosing money make up your mind or do you have one

  • And You Want A Liquor
    June 21, 2010 - 20:28

    And based on this article, Mr. MacMillan, could you tell us WHY? Tourists can drive 4 miles to Rustico. More tax payers money to waste, but then again in aging PEI, we do have an abundance of cash flow.

  • Shelley .B
    June 21, 2010 - 20:24

    iS THIS GUY FOR REAL? Brooke MacMillan, CEO of the Liquor Control Commission.
    In An unscientific study with No controls MacMillan came to the conclusion that P.E.I. liquor store sales reflect trends in population. OMG- LOL,LOL LOL!

    Brooke MacMillan concluded He said more people are moving to urban areas Because more liquor is being sold at urban liquor stores.

    Go way forjeez sake there's upteen variables that would contribute to Liquor Stores total sales.

  • Sad
    June 21, 2010 - 20:20

    When you think rational about this, 90 million in Liquor Sales, on this little Isle.
    It don't say much for our priorities now...
    We certainly don't feel its something to brag about!

  • Garth
    June 21, 2010 - 20:19

    One can see where this is going. Rural PEI is being set up for decreased service.

    Funny no mention of the Souris Liquour Store sales nor how much the increase in prices added to the increase in sales.

  • Don
    June 21, 2010 - 20:14

    To Garth Staples: Those were my thoughts as I read it. So Oak Tree went up 6.4%. I know prices have gone up so have sales actually increased or maybe they decreased! It's so easy to make numbers look good. All he talked about was $'s. Why not %'s?

  • mike
    June 21, 2010 - 20:10

    Perhaps the outlet in Wood Islands should be privately run in say a convenience store or service station. I know of a small Co-op store in Nova Scotia that was on the verge of closing. A small liquor outlet saved the store. They only have a small selection but the next store is a half hour drive from there. Of course that is NS, it will take about 10 years for PEI to catch up with that concept.

  • Peter
    June 21, 2010 - 20:10

    Brooke where is your head? Are we now to see another string of Ghiz decisions based on Brookes observations?
    Brooke MacMillan, CEO of the Liquor says trends with liquor store sales reflect trends in Prince Edward Island population. He said more people are moving to urban areas and more liquor is being sold at urban liquor stores.

    HIS KEY INDUCATOR and the bases for his profound understanding of Rural Urban trends is the $2200 decline in sales at the Wood Islands store. After making this profound statement about the future of growth on PEI the Guardian adds this ADDITIONAL FACT he closed the woods Island store a month earlier than the year before. Brooke, Ghiz, Brooke, Ghiz, Brooke who ever So the million dollar question is --- if you had left the store open the same length of time as the year before (one month) and had just $4400 in sales would you then be projecting significant growth in Rural PEI with people leaving the Urban Centers.
    It is not about Urban\Rural it is about expecting some Intelligence in decision making Ghiz,Brooke, Ghiz, Brooke who ever

  • decentralize
    June 21, 2010 - 20:02

    Maybe we should decentralize the liquor stores and make everyone in Charlottetown drive to some rural community to keep it going and the government could pay us travel money.

  • Trevor
    June 21, 2010 - 20:01

    ... and put the profit into the hands of one guy instead of all of us, David. (I am sure the employees will be happy to take that $12 an hour pay cuThat will also affect every business where they would spend that money - all for the benefit of a one-time cash infusion. Don't sell the goose that lays the golden eggs. And who will be able to afford to buyt it? A big business or a tycoon (buddy of someone in government of course). That takes the profits of our own drinking out of our own collective pockets to pay for health etc and makes it corporate profit. (that tends to benefit the upper income levels most.).... The USA just had 8 years of that kind of thinking. Privatizing the liquor commission is foolish, which is why so many other provinces own their liquor distribution outlets. (Ont and Quebec I know do)

    Govt ownership also gives a better guarantee of service in rural areas - since such locations are kept afloat by the string of outlets, even when sales volumes might not make individual locations viable as a stand-alone business. That part should appeal to Mr. Staples. ;-)

    (wink and a nod to the only other guy who seems to use his real name when posting - even though he is completely WRONG on all matters p'litical.) Take that, Mr. Staples. :)


    (I will duel you if necessary on the issue: Pints at ten paces at Gahan's.)

  • David
    June 21, 2010 - 19:59

    Privatize all the liquor stores on PEI, allow corner stores and grocery stores to sell booze; beer, wine, hard liquor whatever.

    The government should not be in the booze business aka patronage business aka job handout business.

    Privatizing the stores would generate revenue from taxes paid by the new owners and lower costs for the government by not paying employees $20/hour for an $8/hour job.

  • double OOPs
    June 21, 2010 - 19:58

    Sad Sad Day - absolutely right - nothing to brag about. But - a necessary evil. Helps pay for the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed. All that yummy tax, eh. Just like tobacco tax, too good to not take advantage of. Anybody planning to sue Captain Morgan ?

  • Hugh
    June 21, 2010 - 19:46

    Maybe the good people in these rural areas are making, and drinking moonshine instead.They can not afford to pay the high priced store bought liquor.

  • The Primrose Psychic
    June 21, 2010 - 19:42

    This is typical bureaucratic thinking. Book smart but no common sense. Looking at these numbers (for the Wood Islands and Wellington stores) combined with being a person that resides in the country and works in Charlottetown I would suggest the many rural islanders travelling to work in Charlottetown and Summerside are shopping there after work. I do it, as well as many of my family and friends. For bureaucrat in question... this concept is called multi-tasking and not trends in Prince Edward Island population.

  • the
    June 21, 2010 - 19:34

    the real reason people dont use those stores to buy their l booze they dont want to be seen there so use the charlottetown stores to protect their privacy