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Asda in shock ‘responsible booze retailer’ claim

Despite the fact the retail sector would like to blame the pub industry for being the cause of problem drinking, the reality is that the sales of beer in supermarkets and off licences is set to overtake that sold in pubs next year. The chief reason for this is because it is so much cheaper. By Glynn Davis, City editor

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Asda in shock ‘responsible booze retailer’ claim

Despite the fact the retail sector would like to blame the pub industry for being the cause of problem drinking, the reality is that the sales of beer in supermarkets and off licences is set to overtake that sold in pubs next year. The chief reason for this is because it is so much cheaper. By Glynn Davis, City editor

And as we have argued previously in this column, cheap prices lead to greater consumption, which then results in problems. It is the constant sale of booze at ludicrously low pric
es that is helping the supermarkets flog ever-larger volumes of alcohol.

It is therefore staggering to find the likes of Andy Clarke, chief operating officer at Asda, banging on about being responsible. He reckons the supermarkets have a part to play in the community and that this involves taking responsibility for the sale of knives and alcohol to young people.

He should be applauded for this view but the only problem is that there would not be such a strong requirement to stop young people from trying to buy alcohol if it wasn't so dirt cheap in the supermarkets.

The major grocers have also frequently presented their policies on selling to minors - that include things like the 'Challenge 25' initiative - as all that is apparently needed for them to be wholly responsible and whiter-than-white with regards to the sale of alcohol. This completely overlooks the fact that it is not just young people that have a problem with booze.

But I suppose Asda and the rest of the supermarkets would suggest that those people are old enough to be responsible for their own actions. Which is entirely correct, but whether it is an example of being responsible in the community I rather think not.

glynnd@theretailbulletin.com

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