Bish: off-trade's in denial about its role

By Tony Halstead THals22851@aol.com

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Executive nick bish, Drinking culture, Alcoholic beverage, Supermarket

Big supermarkets should review their alcohol advertising and marketing techniques to encourage more responsible retailing. That is the view of...

Big supermarkets should review their alcohol advertising and marketing techniques to encourage more responsible retailing.

That is the view of Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Nick Bish, who was responding to comments made in the MA last week by JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin. He had earlier claimed that pushing the blame for binge drinking onto supermarkets was not an argument that would produce a good result for pubs.

Bish said Martin's comments were as provocative as they were insightful, but missed the point of what the ALMR actually wanted.

He said: "We do not want the Government to intervene on prices but we do want them to keep the searchlight focused on the supermarkets and encourage them to recognise they can do a lot more to influence responsible drinks retailing."

He added: "Yes, the supermarkets can start with a commitment to eliminate under-cost selling, but they should then go further and look at their displays, their promotions and re-examine their role in the ultimate consumption of alcohol.

"This issue is more complicated than just price because the supermarkets are in denial about their role in alcohol consumption. They have always persuaded themselves they have no responsibility for what happens after the check-out and even think that if people buy a lot then they take a long time drinking it - as if."

Bish suggested that alcohol need not be sold throughout stores and for the duration of extended opening hours.

He queried why drinks displays were so prominent on gondola ends and why they invariably featured alongside special promotions such as barbecues and Christmas decorations.

"How come they seem to have replaced confectionery as the last minute opportunity in the check-out queue?" he asked.

In August the ALMR revealed Tesco's involvement in under-selling tactics.

Related topics: Legislation, Other operators

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