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‘Absolutely ridiculous’: Operators slam cheap alcohol offers in supermarkets

By Sara Hussein , 01-Dec-2016
Last updated on 01-Dec-2016 at 10:36 GMT2016-12-01T10:36:55Z

Supermarkets are putting pressure on pub particularly at Christmas
Supermarkets are putting pressure on pub particularly at Christmas

Operators have slammed supermarkets for offering cut-price Christmas deals, which means beer is being sold less than 80p a pint. 

An investigation by The Morning Advertiser has revealed that Morrison’s is offering 40 x 440ml cans of Carling for £20, which means customers will be paying the equivalent of 64p a pint.

Meanwhile Asda is selling 36 x 440ml cans of Foster’s at £20, which equates to 71p a pint.

‘Dreadful’ for the businesses

Licensees have claimed the cheap deals are crippling their businesses in the lead up to the festive period.

Licensee at the Red Lion, in Cricklade, Wiltshire, Tom Gee, said: “It's dreadful, it has stripped a major part of the market away from pubs.

“It’s something we couldn’t even begin to compete with.”

He added: “We don't even buy beer anywhere near that price from suppliers, so there's absolutely no way we could compete with that.

“My business is a free house, but others may pay two or three times that amount per pint to sell to a customer.”

Licensee at the Crown Inn, in Oakengates, Shropshire, John Ellis, said that supermarkets were selling alcohol ‘at a loss’ and were faced with this problem ‘all year round’.

‘Unfair’ Industry

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin told The Morning Advertiser that pubs were subject to higher business rates and VAT levels compared to supermarkets.

This, he said, allowed its supermarket competitors to offer cheaper food as well as alcohol sales.

He added: “The pub industry has an extraordinarily strong moral case for tax equality. This is a classic example of an industry being treated unequally. 

“The situation is most of the industry hasn't campaigned for equality.”

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