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Walmart Chain Pulls Out Of Pennsylvania Automated Wine Retailing Plan

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - Pennsylvania’s wine kiosk program appears to be on life support after another major outlet has pulled the plug on its participation.

Earlier this year, Wegman’s yanked ten wine kiosks out of its supermarkets (see related story), and now Walmart has notified the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) that it is cancelling plans for 23 kiosks in its Pennsylvania stores.

The Walmart rollout would have more than doubled the number of kiosks currently in operation.

LCB spokeswoman Stacey Witalec admits that the survival of the troubled kiosk program is now an uphill climb.

“We have to find retailers who are willing to take the risk and partner with us,” she told KYW Newsradio today.  “And certainly, as we see more and more retailers pull the kiosks out of their locations, it’s going to be harder and harder.”

On top of all that, the LCB is embroiled in a contract dispute with the manufacturer of the kiosks over reimbursements the LCB says it is owed (see related story).   If that dispute is not settled by mid-September, the liquor agency may pull the plug on the program altogether.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg bureau chief Tony Romeo

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