Sainsbury's backdown tells a story
Published:  08 February, 2008

Interesting to see Sainsbury's withdrawing its multi buy promotion on Basics cider - £3.60 for eight litres (26p a pint) - shortly after the deal became the focus of a negatively-slanted piece in the Mail on Sunday.

It's the first time during my three years

at OLN that negative media coverage has apparently forced a retailer to change its approach. The cider is pretty cheap anyway , normally retailing at the equivalent of 34p a pint , and is hardly typical of Sainsbury's BWS range.

But the unfortunate effect of press coverage like this is to give the impression that the off-trade is virtually giving away


Most readers of The Mail on Sunday know no different as they're probably not aware of all the responsible drinking initiatives in place. National media hacks are clearly on the prowl for more of this type of story, and retailers will have to think harder about how their offers might be perceived.

Government own-goal

Research commissioned by the WSTA into the likely side effects of a duty rise is food for thought. It's the first cohesive bit of research I've seen which shows that raising alcohol tax is unlikely to stop "problem users" of alcohol drinking heavily.

The research, undertaken by Europe Economics, warns that "a rise in taxation would raise prices and†so damage the innocent enjoyment of non-problem drinkers, while at the same time having little or no effect upon the amount consumed by heavy drinkers".

Higher taxes could dissuade "normal" consumers from drinking as much as they normally do, sales would fall, and so the Treasury would lose out, the report says. Unwanted side

effects of duty hikes could be increased levels of alcohol smuggling and private imports, it adds. Yet more evidence that the sensible majority should not be penalised because of the actions of a few.

Deserving winners

Congratulations to the 17 winners of the Drinks Retailing Awards 2008, which recognise the very best retailers, from independents to multiple grocers. After a hard year, it was fantastic to see so many people enjoying themselves (and throwing some interesting shapes) on the dance floor. Thanks to everyone who entered - it's your continued enthusiasm for the awards that keeps the standards high and the competition fierce year after year

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