Developing its cider and speciality beer categories was high on Asda's list of priorities in 2006. The supermarket increased its range of organic beers by 80 per cent over the year and doubled the number of local beers to a 160-strong range. Asda's commitment to local sourcing and its support for smaller brewers was noted in SIBA's submission to the Competition Commission.
The retailer came under fire for breaching the Portman Group's code in June and was forced to withdraw a gift pack of sparkling wine and a teddy bear. The panel ruled that Asda had not set out to target youngsters, but said the pack appealed to under-18s. Asda also defended its decision to sell alcohol alongside kids' games and images of children's faces in its World Cup aisles.
Asda ditched BOGOFs on beers, wines and spirits as well as the rest of its range in May. Looking ahead the retailer said it will continue to deliver clear price messages. "Customers want to trust us on price and so it's important to get across to the consumer the real value rather than hiding the true price of a product with calculated offers," wine buyer Guy Gordon says.
He promised to focus on Australian and French wine in 2007, and singled out Champagne as an area of particular interest. Asda's four-strong wine buying team - which will remain divided by country with each country allocated to a single buyer - will carry out a review of its wine range in the spring.