Alcohol in Migros: rejection by the members of the cooperative

The revolution in Migros does not happen. All ten Migros regional cooperatives are against the abolition of the alcohol sales ban.

Alcohol is already available in the Migrolino shops – it remains banned from the shelves of the Migros supermarkets.

Christian Beutler / Keystone

No alcohol has been sold in the Migros branches for almost a hundred years – and it will stay that way. In ballots, the members of the ten Migros regional cooperatives spoke out against the abolition of the alcohol sales ban. This was announced by the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (MGB) on Thursday morning.

For an end to the sales ban, a two-thirds majority would have been required in the regional cooperatives for a change in the statutes. However, this proved to be a high hurdle. It was not exceeded in any region.

Voter turnout was relatively high at 29 percent of the approximately 2.2 million cooperative members in Switzerland. “This impressively shows the great attachment of the population to Migros and its democratic values,” said Ursula Nold, President of the Administration of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (MGB). Migros democracy won. She is glad that the members of the cooperative made clear decisions that were unanimous across Switzerland.

Intense voting debate

The vote was preceded by an emotional debate. Almost all bodies of the MGB and the ten regional cooperatives had spoken out in favor of abolishing the traditional alcohol sales ban. They considered the ban to be outdated. An important argument was that Migros already offers wine, beer and spirits in its online shop and in subsidiaries such as Migrolino and Denner.

However, the arguments of the proponents did not catch on at the grassroots level. Many members of the cooperative seem to have said to themselves: “Alcohol has never been sold at Migros – nothing should change about this unique selling point.” A group led by former Migros boss Herbert Bolliger also advocated sticking to the sales ban.

Fronts remain clear

With the no of the members of the cooperative, the fronts in the Swiss retail trade are still clear. Coop and Denner remain the top dogs in the local alcohol business. In the wine trade, for example, they have an estimated market share of 43 percent.

Migros, on the other hand, will refrain from selling alcohol in its own supermarkets. In terms of sales, it remains the largest supermarket operator in Switzerland for the time being. In 2021, with sales of CHF 12.7 billion, it was just ahead of its cooperative rival Coop (CHF 12.1 billion).

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