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Liquor sellers pour it on for holiday shoppers

first_imgAfter 18 months of private liquor sales in Washington state, the competitive liquor market is moving into its second holiday season that is traditionally its highest sales period of the year.Local spirits sellers are pulling out all the stops to compete for those sales. It’s a contest that has some retailers expanding store liquor departments, others carrying holiday gift packs and some offering extra services such as online sales and abundant, well-trained sales associates on the selling floor. Other liquor retailers, such as warehouse-style booze seller Total Wine & More, rely on volume-order advantages and promotions with spirits producers that help level the playing field with stores such as Costco and other volume discounters.Issaquah-based Costco invested $22 million to back the voter-approved Initiative 1183, which pulled the state out of the business of selling spirits on June 1, 2012.The sudden change in liquor sales rules created a highly competitive retail environment in which liquor sellers in Clark County increased from 14 state-run and state-contracted stores to more than 75 licensed sellers of hard liquor. The voter-approved law attracted major newcomers such as Potomac, Md.-based Total Wine & More, which opened a Vancouver store in May.The company’s sales strategy is three-fold, based on its selection of more than 14,000 spirits, wines and beers, its trained service staff and price, said David Trone, co-owner of the more than 90-store chain.“You’ve always got to have the best price in the market,” Trone told The Columbian.That strategy appears to be working in some parts of the state, such as Bellevue, where the Total Wine & More store was the state’s highest grossing liquor store in 2012, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.last_img

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