Ban has not hit off-trade sales

Retailers have replaced ‘3 for £10’ offers with lower product prices

• People are buying alcohol more often since the ban, the report claims.
• People are buying alcohol more often since the ban, the report claims.

THE Scottish Government’s ban on multi-buy promotions has failed to reduce the volume of alcohol being sold in the off-trade, claims a new report.

The document, titled ‘Impact on alcohol purchasing of a ban on multi-buy promotions: a quasi-experimental evaluation comparing Scotland with England and Wales’, was published jointly by the University of East Anglia and the University of Cambridge. The report was based on data from research firm Kantar WorldPanel.
It claims that although Scottish shoppers are now purchasing fewer alcoholic products per shopping trip, they are making more trips that feature alcohol purchases when compared to before the ban.
It also claimed that retailers had, for the most part, responded to the introduction of the ban by lowering the price of individual products.
“More encompassing policy will be needed to achieve the goal of reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms,” said report co-author professor Marc Suhrcke, from University of Norwich Medical School. “Partially banning price promotions leaves the door open for industry to just switch to other forms of price promotions, or indeed to reduce the overall price of alcohol.
“Imposing greater excise duties on alcohol and introducing minimum unit pricing have been shown to reduce alcohol consumption and associated harms.”
Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) chief executive Paul Waterson said the report was an “advert for minimum pricing”.
“The SLTA has always made the point that supermarkets and others would simply get around the rules and regulations that were brought in, and it was almost impossible to be prescriptive enough to stop that with the law,” said Waterson.
“It further strengthens the argument that we need minimum pricing.”
Introduced as part of the Scottish Government’s Alcohol Etc (Scotland) Act, the ban – which eliminated multi-buy promotions such as ‘3 for £10’ in the off-trade – came into force on October 1, 2011.