CONVENIENCE stores across the state are making a bold push to sell booze.

Just as they sell cigarettes and lotto tickets, the shops now want to sell alcohol to compete with major retailers.

The plan, put to the federal government’s investigation into slashing liquor red tape, would bring Australia in line with Britain and the US and, if approved, could boost sales by about 7 per cent.

Australasian Association of Convenience Stores Limited chief Jeff Rogut said the sector wanted to compete with supermarkets who controlled 60 per cent of the $16.2 billion-a-year packaged alcohol industry.

“These days you can order alcohol online and have it delivered to your home or use a drive-through bottle shop at all sorts of hours and buy alcohol. It’s about time the government was open to looking at other opportunities for our businesses,” Mr Rogut said.

In NSW it’s illegal to sell alcohol alongside petrol.

Stores like IGA or Foodworks are allowed to sell liquor in some circumstances, depending on size, while Aldi uses isolated zones instore. And supermarket giant Coles sells alcohol through Liquorland while Woolworths is affiliated with BWS.

“We want government to give our industry a fair go if they do wish to compete in a legal category,” said Mr Rogut who believed alcohol sales would boost the sector by $600 million a year.

Wade Death wants to add alcohol to the petrol, fresh food and coffee his chain of convenience stores, Jack & Co, sells in Sydney and Taree.

“We’re at risk of becoming inconvenience stores by making people stop elsewhere for alcohol. We don’t want to become alcohol stores, it wouldn’t be our core business. It’s about giving convenience to the consumer in a broad range of ways,” Mr Death said.

He said it was hypocritical to bar stores that sell petrol from also selling alcohol when drive-through bottle shops exist.

The nationwide 7-Eleven chain also wants the sell alcohol.

“We’re not advocating 24/7 trade in alcohol — simply being able to offer our customers the same access to the same products within the same regulatory frameworks as supermarkets and drive-throughs are able to,” Clayton Ford, the group’s corporate affairs general manager, said.

A Liquor and Gaming NSW spokesman said alcohol sales at convenience stores and petrol stations were restricted to help reduce underage drinking and drink-driving.

Extracted from Adelaide Now.