HARRISBURG, PA -- Wegmans Food Markets Inc. has terminated an agreement with Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board to sell wine through automated kiosks at 10 of its stores throughout the state.
The Rochester, NY-based supermarket chain cited machine malfunctions, lower-than-expected sales and high volumes of customer complaints. In a May 31 letter to the PLCB, Wegmans requested that the machines be removed within a month. It said in the letter that customers found the choices too limited and wanted more personalized service.
The move leaves 22 of the wine kiosks in operation in supermarkets throughout the Keystone State. Liquor Control Board officials said the agency plans to add other sites, including 24 Walmart locations slated for this summer.
Separately, the PLCB said recently that it plans introduce a pilot program to feature hard liquor in some of the kiosks.
It's been a bumpy road for the wine-vending program since it rolled out in supermarkets last summer. The PLCB suspended the program statewide in December to probe persistent mechanical malfunctions. Simple Brands, the Conshohocken, PA, company that manufactures and operates the machines, identified and corrected the issues and the program resumed early in 2011.