Retailer plans to sell 99p wine

25 June, 2010

A retail group which plans to sell half-bottles of eastern European wine for 99p has defended itself against criticism that its promotion is irresponsible.

The company, 99p Stores, has 117 branches, including 47 former Wool-worths sites. It hopes to have alcohol licences within six weeks for 20 shops.

Buying director Faisal Lalani refused to give full details of the wine, but said it was a normal-strength product sold in red, white, rosé and sparkling styles.

He said: “We aren’t doing anything new. Our ethos is to try to sell everything cheaper than anyone else but we’re responsible retailers and don’t sell to anyone under-age.”?Lalani, whose family once ran Europa Foods and Whistlestop, admitted “there isn’t much margin” in the wine, which, even before this week’s emergency Budget, would have attracted around 84p in duty, without adding on VAT at 17.5% and the cost of the product itself.

“If supermarkets work on a low margin, I have to do likewise,” he said. “People say I’m cheaper than everyone else, but that’s the whole point. If the government doesn’t want people selling wines at certain prices, change the law. I’m a retailer, I’m trying to give people what they want. The criticism shouldn’t be on me.”?He added: “I’ve tasted it and it’s quite good. If it actually tastes like it costs 99p, it’s not a bargain.”?The licensed 99p Stores will also be selling 50cl cans of leading-brand lagers for 99p. A sister chain, Family Bargains, will sell goods in bulk from retail park locations, including alcoholic drinks.

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