Sunday, October 27, 2013

Marjane Supermarkets Stop Alcohol Sales

The Moroccan company Marjane, which runs 32 supermarkets across the country, has decided to stop all sales of alcohol. It appears that the move has been planned for as long as 18 months (see update here-

In Fez, Marjane has suffered from the competition from Carrefour's popular new outlet at Borj Fez. Yet, if the reason is a practical economic one, it seems to make little sense as a majority of the wine (for example) purchased in Morocco is consumed by Moroccans.

According to a report in Morocco World News, the Marjane administration had faced sharp criticism for selling alcohol in high-crime areas. There have been series of protests by local residents against these stores especially in Temara where 17 people were arrested during a demonstration in the summer of 2012.

So far, Marjane hasn’t justified the decision, and clients and providers alike wonder about the reasons that prompted the holding to stop selling alcoholic beverages. Whatever reasons the company eventually puts forward there seems little hope they will win back their many dissatisfied customers.

A local wine expert in Fez informed The View from Fez: " FYI marjane on route d'Imouzzer has closed its wine and beer section for good. Though Oud Fez is still serving."

Was 2012 a test run?

Back on August 2012 shoppers in several Marjane stores in Casablanca were surprised to find the wine and beer sections closed. At first it was thought to have been simply a result of staff being slow to restock after the Eid holiday when it has been tradition to remove alcohol from the shelves. (See our story here)

On the Friday after Eid 2012 that was to mark the date of resumption of the sale of alcohol by different distributors in Morocco (supermarkets, taverns, etc) Marjane delivered a surprise when three of its stores failed to re-opened their alcohol shelves. At the time there was talk of at least seven stores stopping alcohol sales. The rumours about Marjane's intentions had been circulated during the month of Ramadan but had not been taken seriously by most suppliers and customers.

In 2012 various rumours suggested reasons for Marjane's decision, most of them economic, in light of the growing number of competitors that Marjane was facing. Other suggestions included the selective shutting of outlets in areas where the presence of "the many illegal dealers" was causing social unrest and that the ban would "...end the fighting caused by dozens of idle, drunken, rodents near three of the hypermarkets." An official from Marjane told AFP that the problem was the supermarkets being close to "sensitive" neighbourhoods ".

The decision in 2012 was not taken under pressure from Islamists, said a Marjane spokesperson at the time.

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abd rahamn said...

The problem of alcohol consumption is very serious. Look at binge drinking in the UK. There is no easy answer. I’m not suggesting prohibition but if alcohol is made less available it must be a step in the right direction.

Puntung Hanyut said...

Well, Morocco is a Muslim country, after all. Some of us can really enjoy life and have fun without alcohol. Try it!

Puntung Hanyut said...

I agree with Adb Rahamn. Besides, isn't Morocco supposed to be a Muslim country? You can still enjoy life and have fun without drinking alcohol. Try it!

Hicham said...

The supermarket was getting into trouble for selling to people who resold. Thankfully there are responsible places like Carrefour and Acima who are more responsible.

Moroccans have always enjoyed wine and spirits since ancient times. If people choose not to drink, I respect them. But it is a matter of free choice.

anne said...

I do not understand Marjane's reasons to ban all alcoholic beverages from their stores. Adults should be able to make their own decision wether they want to drink alcohol or not. I myself (korw a Catholic) do not drink alcohol, my Moroccan fiancee likes to drink a beer or whiskey every now or then..................Maybe Marjane will let us now soon why they made this decision.

The View from Fez said...

Anne (see our update story) - Marjane says it is part of a restructure of the business and not all shops will stop selling wine and beer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping us updated. It is good news that not all shops are stopping selling. :)

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Anonymous said...

Lighten up people.not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic,

Mitchell Virchick said...

You sound drunk.