Update: While a statement from Walmart cites mechanical concerns as a reason for ending the agreement, Simple Brands says fewer than one-half a percent of kiosk transactions are due to mechanical problems. The PLCB says it’s working out other agreements with Walmart.
Original report: Walmart is pulling out of a deal to install about two dozen state-controlled wine-vending machines in its Pennsylvania store, according to the Associated Press.
An Aug. 15 letter from Walmart’s director of Pennsylvania operations Kurt Herkert to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says it’s terminating the agreement, but doesn’t say why.
Herkert confirmed Wednesday that Walmart is ending the agreement. He referred further comment to a company spokesman, who couldn’t immediately be reached.
The move comes amid a dispute between the liquor board and kiosk contractor Simple Brands and calls by some Republican state lawmakers to end state control over wine and liquor sales.
The kiosk program began last summer, but the 10-foot-high machines have been plagued with mechanical problems. That prompted Wegmans to end its experiment with kiosks in 10 of its stores.