Prague’s corner shops are selling wines for six times the usual price

We have repeatedly addressed high-priced convenience stores in central Prague. Everything here is several times more expensive, including alcoholic beverages, with wine no exception.

In our latest mapping of these stores, we found that the alcoholic beverage, whose popularity blossomed during the reign of Emperor Charles IV, has the highest margin in corner shops in central Prague. For example, Rios de Chile, which we found online for CZK 129, is sold for CZK 449.90 at the Wine & Food Store in Dlouhá Street, and this is not just the case for this convenience store.

We also noticed Znovín Znojmo wines. In addition to their Rulandské being sold for CZK 350 in Dlouhá Street (for CZK 89 online), we were intrigued to find out that the same drink is sold in almost all convenience stores in the capital.

In market capitalism, everyone has the freedom

We spoke with Karel Slavík, Znovín Znojmo’s Central Bohemia and Prague sales representative. We were interested to know whether the company gives its customers recommended prices.

The surprise was that they did not

“Classic gastronomy. That’s something we cannot influence. It’s like when you go to a restaurant. In one, wine is sold for CZK 150, and in the other for CZK 600. Nobody can influence that. With market capitalism here, everyone can decide how much they want to sell it for. Just as everyone has the freedom to choose whether to buy it or not,” he said.

“I disagree with that, but I’m too small a man to change that,” he added.

Vietnamese corner shops? A specific segment

“Today, there is a Vietnamese wholesale store called Tamda, which is unchangeable in that they deliver even on Sundays. They are quite expensive and have the entire Czech Republic covered. The Vietnamese specifically buy goods from Tamda or other affiliated wholesale stores. Or they follow all leaflet promotions and buy on discounts. Everyone has computer systems installed today. They are very good businessmen,” said Slavík.

“But wine for CZK 350 is pitiful when they bought it for CZK 80,” he said.

And he adds that one reason for such high prices could be a mistake. According to him, wines can be easily confused.

“Today, these wholesale stores have a labyrinth in their merchandise, so it can happen that the listed price was a mistake, not intentional. Someone invoiced another wine; they wanted to buy the more expensive Rulandské Bílé, but got gastronomy instead.”

Not just corner shops, not just central Prague

He also notes that high margins are not just a problem for Vietnamese corner shops but also practically all shops in the Czech Republic.