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Why stores like Aldi and Costco sell alcohol-filled calendars with alcohol

But in the year of the pandemic, a new category is growing in popularity that could provide a little holiday for adults: calendars full of alcohol, with a different small bottle to open every night during Advent, the period begins four weeks before Christmas .

This year, Walmart (WMT)sells a first-time Advent Advent wine calendar for $ 69.98 to “offer our customers a way to shut down during the holidays or share [it] as a gift option instead of gatherings, “the company said in an email to CNN Business. Another first-time offer from the retailer is a Crown Royal Whiskey tasting calendar for $ 39.98.

Aldi, which has been selling wine calendars since 201

8, sells both beer and hard seltzer calendars this year for $ 49.99 and $ 34.99, respectively. It also plans to release a sparkling wine calendar next month.

Kroger (KR)has released a new Advent wine calendar, complete with 24 mini bottles of wine, available exclusively at Kroger for $ 79.99.

Advent calendars can often be an impulse purchase for customers who come to shop for basic items, said Phil Lampert, an expert on consumer and trade trends and founder of SupermarketGuru.com.

The latest wave of alcohol is not just about sales.

“With Advent wine calendars, their marketing value … is significantly higher than their sales value to help drive traffic,” said Christopher Durham, a brand consultant with experience in the food industry. “You limit the number available, thousands of people talk about them and you create news.”

Ticket systems and bidding wars

Grocery stores do just that. Kroger said he was selling only 16,000 of his new calendars and would not populate them once it sold out.

Costco (EXPENSES) presented its wine calendar in September and is already sold out. The retailer will not replenish them this year, said Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer.
The $ 37.98 Advent's Advent calendar includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Zinfandel.

Galanti said he was not surprised that Costco buyers grabbed the calendars as soon as they were released. “In general, people stay at home, so we saw strength in categories like food and drink, kitchen and furniture,” he said.

Aldi won the hosting of its first wine-themed Advent calendar, which sold out in minutes when it debuted in 2018. The buzz around it made it such a sought-after novelty that offers for it reached several hundred dollars for eBay (EBAY).

Calendars are among Aldi’s most popular items, said Joan Cavanaugh, vice president of national buying with Aldi US, which has more than 2,000 stores in 36 states and is a cult fan of fans who call themselves “Aldi nerds.” The trader sold 500% more wine wine calendars in 2019 than in 2018.

Anticipating the rush of proposals for 2020, Cavanaugh said Aldi stores have implemented a ticketing system along with safety protocols, “including social distance, one-way trails and mask requirements.”

The company claims that calendars are selling fast so far.

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