More than 20 c- stores are having their alcohol licences reviewed as a result of failing two test purchases within a month.
The recent Home Office-led crackdown concentrated on stores, off licences and pubs that had been identified by police and Trading Standards as 'problem outlets' in the sale of alcohol to youngsters.
In a three-week campaign during October, 224 outlets in 27 areas across England and Wales were targeted by repeated test purchasing operations, with those that failed two or more times being referred for review.
As a result, 42 premises, including six Spar outlets and several independent c-stores, are having their licences reviewed by the relevant local authorities under the terms of the Licensing Act.
Also on the list are stores trading under the Budgens, Costcutter, Londis, Mace, Select & Save, Bargain Booze, Kwik Save, Somerfield and Smile fascias, as well as three Tesco outlets, two of which are Express convenience stores.
The government has repeatedly stated it is unhappy with the trade's failure rate in test purchasing operations and is now seeking to make an example out of selected stores.
Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said: "I recognise the work undertaken by the drinks industry to tackle underage sales, but the fact that 42 premises are going to licence review shows that there is still more to do. Police and Trading Standards will continue to carry out further enforcement activity to identify and deal with those retailers that continue to break the law."
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said that the results should act as a reminder to the trade of the consequences of selling alcohol to the underaged, but added that removing an alcohol licence from a shop should be a measure of last resort.
He said: "Retailers are developing ever more sophisticated training methods, and ensuring that training is not only given but regularly refreshed. While this enforcement action highlights the fact that problems persist, thousands of stores are getting it right and the overall trend is a reduction in failures of test purchases.
"The Licensing Act provides a sophisticated range of options to a licensing authority to work with the premises involved to tackle the problem. We are absolutely clear that our common objective is to reduce the prevalence of underage drinking in the UK, but helping a business to
be part of the solution is a
better option for the business and the community than removing their ability to trade altogether."