Oldham gets tough on supermarket booze

By Tony Halstead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drinks promotions Alcoholic beverage Supermarket Oldham council

Supermarkets: pile it high, sell it cheap
Supermarkets: pile it high, sell it cheap
Supermarkets which sell alcohol for less than 50p per unit face licence reviews and a range of trading restrictions in plans being drawn up by Oldham council.

Supermarkets which sell alcohol for less than 50p per unit, face licence reviews and a range of trading restrictions in plans being drawn up by Oldham council.

The council has written to 17 major stores in the town outlining new conditions, which could apply if they drop below the 50 pence price mark.

The action follows Oldham's recent purge on town centre pubs and clubs who faced similar licence reviews and curbs on in-house drinks promotions including post office style queuing for drinks.

The council was later forced to dilute many of its proposals after protests from licensees and bar operators.

Supermarkets which continue to sell alcohol for less than 50p face a range of measures, which include:

• The creation of an in-store designated alcohol zone (typically two aisles) with a clear 'gateway' to the zone

• A ban on running cheap drinks promotions outside that zone

• A ban on unaccompanied under 18's inside the zone

• A requirement for a security officer to be on duty during trading hours inside the zone

• A limit on the size of promotional material for cheap drinks promotions (maximum 20cm x 10cm)

• A requirement to display one of five responsible drinking messages during any cheap drinks promotions

The council says its move is a response to the "pile it high — sell it cheap" principle being employed by many supermarkets.

It says it is concerned that the Government proposed mandatory retailing code fails to tackle off-trade drinks promotions.

"Lack of action at a national level does not mean that Oldham cannot take action to protect its own locally community," said a spokesperson.

It has highlighted multiple purchase promotions (3 for £20 type offers), alcohol sold below prices charged for water, use of alcohol as a loss leader and promotions advertised in store entrances or in non alcohol floorspace of premises as areas of particular concern.

It says last Sunday one Oldham store was selling two litres of cider for £1.21p which equates to 14p per unit.

The council says it has initially singled out the biggest store operators in the town but warn the same action could follow for smaller shops and off-licences.

The 17 stores have until the end of December to respond to the council's proposals.

Morning Advertiser legal editor Peter Coulson said:"Oldham are once again jumping the gun in trying to bring in restrictions and conditions ahead of the Government, and using the review process to put pressure on licensees.

"Although the pub trade might welcome the big stick being used against supermarkets, it is all part of a general attack on the licensed trade and pubs in other parts of the country could soon be facing the Oldham treatment."

Related topics Legislation

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