TORONTO - An independent study of LCBO, The Beer Store and convenience stores has shown that the LCBO fares poorly when it comes to checking minors for age. The study, conducted by independent research firm Statopex Field Marketing on behalf of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, used two groups of secret shoppers, minors between the ages of 15 and 18 and young adults between the ages of 19 and 24, to randomly test retailers on how well they check for age.
"Using professionally trained secret shopping candidates, we investigated how well each of the LCBO, The Beer Store and chain convenience stores checked for age in locations all around Ontario," said Jeff Wright, executive vice president, Statopex Field Marketing. "Based on a trusted and proven secret shopping methodology, this study revealed that convenience stores test best when checking for age, followed by The Beer Store and LCBO."
When tested with underage secret shoppers (age 15"18), convenience stores scored the highest with an 87.3 percent pass rate, The Beer Store next with 80.7 percent and LCBO last with 74.6 percent, which translates into one in four minors successfully purchased age-restricted products from LCBO, and one in five from The Beer Store. Only one in eight were successful in buying alcohol from a convenience stores.
"We did this study to measure how well we€™re doing our job of keeping age"restricted products away from minors compared to the government-run LCBO and the foreign-owned Beer Store. The results surprised us. Government officials have for years put the LCBO or the foreign-owned Beer Store up as the model for keeping age-restricted products from minors, but the facts paint a different picture," said Dave Bryans, president of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. "The results confirm that convenience stores lead the way when it comes to responsible community retailing and keeping age-restricted products, like tobacco, lottery tickets and even alcohol from kids."
Bryans added that "the convenience store industry sells more age restricted products than any other retailer and we€™ve invested heavily in testing and training employees to minimize the risk of minors getting these products. Our driver€™s license swipe ID check program, We Expect ID, has been invaluable in helping us do that job. But there€™s still room for us to improve and we continuously work with our members to get better each year."