Asda announces own plans to tackle under-age drinking

25 February, 2008

Asda is to introduce a self-imposed package of measures at stores to tackle under-age drinking and antisocial behaviour.

From April 7, sales of alcohol from Asda’s town centre stores will be banned between midnight and 6am and fruit flavoured high alcohol “shooter” style drinks will be removed from sale.

The supermarket chain, which ran a pilot Challenge 25 scheme in Scotland last year, also plans to make it harder for under-18s to attempt to buy alcohol by extending the scheme to another 100 stores and doubling the number of independent test purchases it commissions.

Asda chief executive Andy Bond, said: “Our aim is to make it practically impossible for under-18s to break the law in our stores. As a parent myself I find it unacceptable that children in the UK are still able to purchase alcohol from retailers and pubs. So from today we are adopting a zero-tolerance approach.

“Every single Asda store in the UK will be independently tested at least once a month, with the results published on our website. We will also display signs within the store making it clear that we reserve the right to prosecute anyone under 18 who attempts to purchase alcohol, or anyone that is doing so on a child’s behalf.”

Supermarkets have come under increasing pressure from politicians and health professionals over the past few weeks to end their cut-price alcohol deals, which campaigners say is fuelling binge drinking among the young.

Last week Tesco asked the government to bring in legislation to ensure responsible pricing on alcohol and alcohol promotions, because competition law stops retailers coming together to set prices.

However, today, Bond urged drinks retailers to tackle the problem head on: “Unlike some in the industry I am also not prepared to hide behind calls for more legislation. I believe there are plenty of things we can do now to start tackling this important social issue, which is why we are announcing these measures today,” he said.

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