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State Auditor Blaha Releases 2019 Municipal Liquor Store Report - December 18, 2020

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For Immediate Release December 18, 2020

Contact: Donald McFarland Phone: 651-236-0494

Saint Paul, MN – State Auditor Julie Blaha has released the Analysis of Municipal Liquor Store Operations report. This report is for the year ended December 31, 2019. Via a virtual press conference, Auditor Blaha discussed the trends and underlying financial data in the report.

"This is a challenging time to understand data,” said Auditor Blaha. “During this morning’s press conference I spoke of the pre-COVID numbers in our report, as well as the impact that COVID-19 might have on 2020 numbers.”

“Understanding the different purposes of municipal liquor stores across Minnesota is important when reading these reports,” Blaha added. “Given Covid-19, differentiating on-sale stores from off-sale stores will matter more than ever when looking at next year’s numbers.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • During 2019, Minnesota’s municipal liquor operations reported sales totaling $372.1 million. Total sales generated in 2019 increased by $11.9 million, or 3.3 percent, over 2018. Among individual liquor operations that were in business for all of 2019, total sales ranged from $122,042 in Elmore to $16.3 million in Lakeville.
  • The combined net profit of all municipal liquor operations totaled $27.9 million in 2019. This represents a decrease of $1.1 million, or 3.9 percent, from the amount generated in 2018. Among on-sale operations, net profits totaled $3.5 million in 2019, which was an increase of $4,247, or 0.1 percent, over 2018. Total net profits for off-sale operations totaled $24.4 million in 2019, which represents a decrease of $1.1 million, or 4.4 percent, from 2018.
  • Thirty-three Minnesota cities reported net losses for 2019 (five fewer than 2018). All 33 cities with losses were located in Greater Minnesota.
  • Municipal liquor operations located within the Metro Area are considerably larger and more profitable than their Greater Minnesota counterparts. Although only 18 of the 182 Minnesota cities (9.9 percent) that own and operate municipal liquor stores are located in the Metro Area, they represent 35.0 percent of the total sales and 32.9 percent of the net profits of municipal liquor operations. Sales by all Metro Area municipal liquor operations averaged $3.4 million in 2019, compared to average sales of $1.4 million for all Greater Minnesota operations.
  • During 2019, Minnesota’s municipal liquor stores had net transfers (transfers out minus transfers in) of $20.8 million. This represents a decrease of 4.3 percent from the total net transfers made in 2018. Net transfers totaled $6.5 million among Metro Area establishments, compared to $14.2 million for Greater Minnesota establishments.

To view the complete report, which includes an Executive Summary, graphs and tables, go to: https://www.auditor.state.mn.us/default.aspx?page=20201217.001.

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The Office of the State Auditor is the constitutional office that oversees nearly $40 billion in local government finances for Minnesota taxpayers. The Office of the State Auditor helps to ensure financial integrity and accountability in local government financial activities. Julie Blaha is Minnesota’s 19th State Auditor. Follow us on Twitter @MNStateAuditor.