US stock market daily report (February 05, 2014, Wednesday)
February 6, 2014, Thursday, 04:37 GMT | 00:37 EST | 10:07 IST | 12:37 SGT
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) released their annual report on Tuesday, indicating states are rapidly reversing the 'blue law' which imposed restrictions on the sale of alcohol, particularly on Sundays. According to DISCUS, since 2002, 16 states have approved Sunday sales, bringing the total to 39.
DISCUS chief executive Peter H. Cressy said, "The last vestiges of Prohibition are going away."
The restriction on alcohol sales on Election Day, a practice dating back to an era when saloons often doubled as polling stations, is nearly obsolete. In 2013, Kentucky became the 49th state to reverse the Election Day ban, with South Carolina the last state to uphold, the 'blue law'. Also from 2013, up to 44 states are permit in-store tastings of spirits.
Former Georgia State Rep. Roger Williams said, "The blue laws are kind of outdated. Sunday is not really the Sabbath it used to be."
DISCUS attributes reversing of the ban as a a key factor behind the growth in the alcohol business. Reversing the ban, per DISCUS, shows an increase, measured at suppliers level, by 4.4% in 2013 to $22.2 billion. Additionally, there appears to be an increase in popularity of spirits or American whiskey, especially bourbon, a category that grew by 10.2% to $2.4 billion in 2013. The sale of spirits are reportedly benefiting from a decline in sales of other alcoholic beverages, especially beer.
The trend of selling liquor in stores and grocery stores is expected to increase during 2014 as more states have the laws up for debate. State legislators state the reason they're taking a new tract on alcohol sales is simply because the times have changed. States are recognizing the additional tax revenue generated from Sunday sales. In a study released by DISCUS, Minnesota, where a Sunday ban is still in place, a change in policy could translate into as much as $15 million in extra taxes collected. The state is considering such a policy reversal this year.
Faith-based groups maintain their opposition due to a matter of religious principle. Others argue that changes could result in more drunk driving-related accidents and fatalities. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a nationwide advocacy group, takes no official position on blue laws, but says that sales of alcohol must be carefully monitored on any day of the week.
CVS Bans the Sale of Cigarettes
CVS Caremark declared they will cease to sell cigarettes in there more than 7,600 retail pharmacies. The company estimates it will lose nearly $2 billion in annual revenues, by no longer selling them. The amount is a fraction of its overall business, which is also increasingly providing health care services like walk-in clinics and prescription drug coverage. The move is expected to see others follow as the nation struggles with health care costs inflicted, to smoking cigarettes. Is it possible cigarettes will become the next prohibition?