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Philadelphia ShopRite Owner Blames City's Soda Tax For Store Closing

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A ShopRite store in West Philadelphia is closing. The owner is placing the blame on Philadelphia's tax on soda and sweetened drinks.

Signs posted on the 67th and Haverford store say its shutting down March 14.

Store owner Jeff Brown says this location has lost approximately 25 percent of its business over the last two years because of the tax on soda and sweetened drinks.

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The mayor's office responded with a lengthy statement pushing back against Brown.

"It is no surprise that Mr. Brown has decided to scapegoat the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, but neither he nor the beverage industry have yet to present any evidence that the tax has had any impact on sales. Here's evidence to the contrary: an ongoing study by three of the most reputable academic institutions in the nation (Harvard University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania) finds the beverage tax has not affected overall store sales, contrary to other public claims by this supermarket chain."

Brown says the 111 employees will be transferred to his 12 other supermarkets.

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