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Cost Plus weighs benefits of booze

NEW YORK — Cost Plus World Market is expecting to grow its 218-unit chain to 600 stores by 2011, with 100 of those sites to be alcohol free, the company said during the Lehman Brothers Retail Seminar.

"Alcohol does drive traffic," said John Luttrell, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

But, he explained, of its current stores, six are non-alcoholic and "have similar bottom lines (to the stores that do sell alcoholic beverages). We built those (non-alcoholic) stores about 1,000 square feet smaller, which reduces our occupancy rate by about 4 percent."

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