Duty hikes, rising production costs, the threat of minimum pricing and decreasing disposable income are conspiring to form what one wine supplier last week described as "a perfect storm" for the industry, which suffered a drop of 12 million bottle sales in the off-trade in the year to March 2009.
However the Blueprint organisers say that despite this, introducing its category makeover programme, in which merchandisers visit the shop and re-lay the off licence shelves for an effective and efficient fixture, will lead to an increase in profits.
Blueprint chairman Alan Toft said: "For the first time retailers have reported back to us their sales over the last 18 months. This set of sales data means we can prove that the Blueprint will rout the recession - the reality is that it's a crunch beater." Toft said retailers had reported an average annual increase per shop of £36,281 against an average outlay of £200 and claimed this rivalled by any other free food and drink makeover scheme.
Nusrat Hussain of Grange Moor Convenience Store in Wakefield said her alcohol sales had nearly doubled in size, range and sales over the two years since her Blueprint refit.
However scheme director Ross Shelley believes many more could benefit.
"It's unfortunate that there are still far too many local shops with jumble sale displays - the wrong products on the wrong shelves," he said.