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How Switzerland's Migros could start selling alcohol as early as July

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 30 May, 2022 Updated Mon 30 May 2022 14:23 CEST
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Swiss supermarket Migros doesn't sell alcohol. Why is this and what does it mean for the future. Photo:Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss shoppers may be allowed to buy alcohol in Migros for the first time in a century, with the supermarket to announce a final decision on the issue in mid-June.

In November 2021, Swiss supermarket Migros decided to allow its 630 locations nationwide to sell alcohol for the first time in the supermarket’s history. 

However, whether the supermarkets will be allowed to actually sell beer, wine and booze will be up to the regional cooperatives which govern Migros outlets. 

This being Switzerland, where almost every form of change needs to take place via a vote, delegates have been casting their ballots on whether or not they will allow the sale of alcohol in their region. 

Regional cooperatives began a voting process on May 16th which will run until June 4th. Migros announced on Monday that the final decision of the ballot will be made public in mid-June. 

After the announcement, the changes will be put into place relatively quickly - with alcohol sales permitted from July 1st, if they are approved. 

READ MORE: Is Swiss supermarket Migros about to start selling alcohol and cigarettes?

"Migros will then probably provide information about the results in the Migros Magazine and online in mid-June 2022," said Migros spokesman Marcel Schlatter.

“Where less than two-thirds are in favour of selling alcohol, everything stays the same. Where more than two-thirds of voters are in favour of selling alcohol, the amended statutes will come into force on July 1, 2022.”

Each regional cooperative must decide individually, by a two-thirds majority, whether the stores it governs will sell alcohol. 

This may lead to an outcome where one Migros will sell alcohol but another store in a neighbouring cooperative, will not. 

There are ten regional cooperatives in Switzerland. 

As The Local Switzerland revealed in a recent article, while Duttweiler did this under a special pledge of upholding public health “against excessive consumption of cheap brandy and fruit schnapps”, in reality his decision was motivated by self-interest as he saw a special opportunity as a result of the growing prohibition movement. 

EXPLAINED: The real reason Swiss supermarket Migros doesn’t sell alcohol

In fact, while it may seem like a seismic shift, the company has been selling alcohol through a variety of loopholes for decades. 

Migros subsidiaries Migrolino and Denner both sell alcohol and cigarettes, while Migros itself currently sells alcohol and tobacco via the internet under the Le Shop banner.

Tobacco on the other hand will remain forbidden, meaning you won't see cigarettes on Migros shelves any time soon

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