LCBO says consumers want more expensive wine (con't)

MacGregor says customers are “starting to buy better quality wines and we are adjusting our portfolio as they do to support this trend.”

If you’re looking for cheapo wine there are still some 240 products under $8 and 310 in the $8 to $10 range.

But these products are dropping in sales volume.

MacGregor says sales of wine under $8 “have declined by about four per cent, compared to the year before”.

Products less than $10 are down 2.5 per cent. 

But MacGregor says the LCBO is not abandoning value-oriented customers in the lower price range.

“To keep our assortment fresh our wines category has asked Ontario wine suppliers to provide us with new products in the under $10 range,” she says.

“We have also asked for new products from Chile in the $8.95 - $14.95 range, Argentina in the $8.95 - $14.95 range, South of France in the $9.95 - $13.95 range and Portugal in the $9.95 - $13.95.”

Customers may have noticed a price increase that took place just recently.

MacGregor says there was the annual “change in minimum pricing” in accordance with the LCBO’s legal mandate that occurs every March 1st.

The Crown Corporation is required to set minimum prices as part of its commitment to social responsibility.

But this has been controversial and the LCBO has been accused of using “social responsibility” as a way to gouge consumers and guarantee high revenue.

Last year auditor general Jim McCarter took the corporation to task for failing to use its estimable buying power – the LCBO says it is the largest buyer of “beverage alcohol” in the world -  to negotiate lower wholesale prices.

He noted in his annual report that on occasion, if suppliers submit significantly lower quotes than the LCBO expects, the LCBO will ask the suppliers to raise their wholesale price.


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