First Research US Industry Profile

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Beer, Wine & Liquor Stores
SIC Codes: 5921
NAICS Codes: 445310
Last Quarterly Update: 5/27/2019
Companies in this industry sell beer, wine, and liquor products from physical retail establishments. No major companies dominate; in the US, individual states have different laws regulating liquor stores, complicating the ability to form national chains.
Europe has the highest proportion of drinkers and the highest levels of alcohol consumption per person in the world, according to a study by RAND Europe. Off-premise alcohol consumption is increasing at the expense of on-premise drinking there. Prices on off-premise alcohol are considerably lower than on-premise prices with retailers, especially supermarkets, able to purchase large quantities of alcohol at lower prices through volume discounts. Price differentials between countries — alcohol sold in France is significantly cheaper than alcohol sold in the UK — encourage cross-border shopping.
The US beer, wine, and liquor store industry includes about 34,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $54 billion.
Competitive Landscape
Personal income, consumer tastes, and entertainment trends drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective marketing and competitive pricing. Large companies offer wide selections and deep discounts, but small companies compete by offering specialized merchandise, providing superior customer service, or serving a local market. The US industry is highly fragmented: the top 50 companies account for less than 25% of sales.
Liquor stores compete directly with grocery stores, warehouse clubs, convenience stores, and some drugstores, and indirectly with restaurants, bars, and other establishments that serve alcohol. In addition, direct-to-consumer sales are growing as restrictions are eased. Online sales of beer, liquor, and wine for delivery increased about 35% in 2017, according to e-commerce analytics firm Slice Intelligence. Wine is the most popular, accounting for about 65% of online alcohol sales, followed by liquor (about 20% of online sales), and beer (15%).
The growing list of online players in the alcohol sales and delivery business include Blue Apron, which ships exclusive wines; alcohol delivery startups such as Drizly and Postmates; and Amazon. Amazon's 2017 purchase of Whole Foods Market increased the number of cities served by its Prime Now membership service, which delivers alcohol as well as groceries. Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa can even be used to order alcohol in some areas.
Products, Operations & Technology
Distilled spirits (liquors) account for about 40% of sales, wine for about 30%, and beer and ale for about 25%. Other products include groceries, cigarettes, ... plus:
Sales & Marketing
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Finance & Regulation
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Regional & International Issues
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Human Resources
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
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Industry Indicators
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Business Challenges
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Trends and Opportunities
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Call Preparation Questions
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Financial Information
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Industry Forecast
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Industry Websites
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Glossary of Acronyms

Historical Profiles (PDF format)

02/25/2019
11/26/2018
08/27/2018
05/28/2018
02/26/2018
11/20/2017
08/21/2017
05/15/2017
02/13/2017
11/07/2016
08/08/2016
04/18/2016
01/18/2016
10/12/2015
07/13/2015
04/06/2015
01/12/2015
10/13/2014
07/21/2014
04/28/2014
02/10/2014
11/04/2013
08/12/2013
05/20/2013
02/25/2013
11/19/2012
08/20/2012
06/04/2012
03/12/2012
11/21/2011
08/22/2011
05/09/2011
02/07/2011
10/25/2010
08/02/2010
04/26/2010
01/25/2010