Dollar Stores' Latest Convenience Endeavor

"A place where customers can truly shop us for everything"

Dollar store beer going for 99 cents, wine for $2.99

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. -- Dollars stores’ latest efforts to become one-stop destinations, are catching consumers’ and other retail channels’ eyes. Dollar stores have begun selling alcohol. While single beers go for $1 or less, only “big spenders” will opt for dollar-store wine, which sells for $2.99 and up per bottle, according to a recent report in Time magazine.

Dollar General and 99¢ Only stores have slowly been introducing beer and wine in select locations in Arizona and California, and plans are in the works for alcohol to spread to dollars stores in Nevada and beyond.

The rollout of beer and wine in these stores isn’t just about selling booze, however, according to the report. Instead, the strategy centers on eliminating the need for customers to shop elsewhere. The thinking is that today’s time-crunched consumers desire convenience and one-stop shopping. “Adding beer and wine to our stores allows us to offer our customers a place where they can truly shop us first for everything,” 99¢ Only spokesperson Maider Izeta told the Review-Journal.

The push for one-stop shopping is hardly limited to dollar stores. It also includes supermarkets, some of which have opened on-site bars and restaurants and host happy hours ($1 bottles!), general purpose retailers like Target and Walmart (which have widely expanded grocery sections), and drugstore chains such as Walgreens, now home to sushi bars, salons, and fancy wine and craft beer sections. Convenience stores too, of course, are trying to sell themselves as more convenient than ever. Businessweek recently highlighted the efforts of 7-Eleven and other quick-stop chains to pump up hot prepared food selections, in order to steal business away from fast food franchises.

“What we’re seeing is, ‘Who really wants to be the inconvenient store?’ ” Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, told the Arizona Republic. “Everyone is looking more and more like a convenience store.”

Click here to read the complete Time magazine story.