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Saskatchewan looks for new liquor store owners

Chance for supermarkets to add more liquor stores on the Prairies?

Saskatchewan is cracking open a request for proposals for five private liquor stores.

The government is giving out permits for two private liquor stores in Regina and three in Saskatoon.

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One permit in each city is to be for a new store, while the others are to replace existing government-owned liquor stores.

The province announced last November that it was selling 40 of its 75 government-owned liquor outlets and adding 12 private retail stores across the province.

Don McMorris, minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, says bidders won't be allowed to win more than one permit each time there's a request for proposals so that a monopoly doesn't develop.

There will be three more requests over the summer and McMorris says stores will need to be up and running 18 months after a bid is chosen.

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Several grocery chains already operate liquor stores in the province. They include Sobeys and Saskatoon Co-op.

Saskatchewan is following the lead of Alberta, where liquor stores are privately run and grocery chains such as Loblaw, Sobeys and Calgary Co-op operate numerous stores selling booze.

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