Some unscheduled wrangling extended House debate this morning and it adjourned without debate on the Senate bill to expand wine sales in grocery stores.
A big crowd had turned out in expectation of the debate after committee approval Thursday. Retail liquor stores have mounted a fierce campaign against the Walmart/grocery legislation, which has an ally in a handful of big liquor stores that capitalize on neighboring dry counties for business. Their sop is a promise that Walmart and others won’t finance more local option election drives in places like Faulkner County for several years.
A consultant for the retail stores distributed a sheet of talking points that predicted a shift of business to Walmart and major grocers would take about 30 percent of their wine business and cut the gross profit margin for more than 400 stores by about 14 percent, enough to put many out of business.
He offered no figures on what legalization of some food sales by liquor stores — Beer Nuts, anyone? — would help their bottom line.