A cloudy picture

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It’s been almost two weeks since Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) came into force in Scotland and the picture is still as cloudy as the bottled lager and cider on our shelves.

The first thing to note is that, for us, the 3ltr bottles of  super-strength Frosty Jack’s cider are now a thing of the past. Formerly priced at £3.50, the same product now costs £11 under MUP, putting it out of reach for many.

Interestingly, the impact on 3ltr bottles of Strongbow hasn’t been nearly so pronounced. The price has gone up from £3.49 to £5 and the PMP has been removed, but so far sales appear steady.

Despite our best efforts to communicate the changes to customers, with POS and plenty of till talk, it was still amazing how many people had no idea about MUP when it came into force. Initial reactions ranged from fury to downright confusion, but the team did a fantastic job of explaining that the law had changed and that shoppers wouldn’t be able to buy products cheaper elsewhere – not even the nearby Aldi.

I suppose that’s one of the positives of MUP, that we are now all on a level playing field. However, the impact of cross-border shopping and the illicit trade remain to be seen. We’ll get a much clearer picture when we do a detailed analysis of sales in about 12 weeks. It’s certainly going to be an incredibly busy period for the local enforcement agencies who, I gather, have received no extra funding.

Our focus now will be on continuing to educate shoppers and provide our usual high standards of service as well as focusing on our point of difference, notably the deli which is becoming more popular by the day, and our coffee to go.

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