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Philadelphia’s Soda Sellers Say Tax Has Reduced Sales by as Much as 50%

  • Distributors, retailers say revenue is down in city stores
  • Levy of 1.5 cents per ounce on sugary drinks began on Jan. 1
Cases soda bottles sit on a loading dock.

Cases soda bottles sit on a loading dock.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Philadelphia’s six-week-old tax on sweetened beverages is already taking a toll on drink distributors and grocers, with some reporting sales drops of as much as 50 percent.

Canada Dry Delaware Valley -- a local distributor of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Sunkist, A&W Root Beer, Arizona Iced Tea and Vita Coco -- said business fell 45 percent in Philadelphia in the first five weeks of 2017, compared with the same period last year. Total revenue at Brown’s Super Stores, which operates 12 ShopRite and Fresh Grocer supermarkets, fell 15 percent at its six retailers in the city.