Retailers and symbol groups are trying to reduce the impact of higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol by asking suppliers to take the hit themselves.
Spar UK is currently negotiating with its suppliers. Trading manager for wines and spirits Gyles Walker said: "The amount of increase in duty has come as a surprise. This has led to different suppliers coming up with different scenarios for their brands and it is still taking time to work through the proposals to ensure we have the best for our customers."
He added that the market would be "in state of flux up until Christmas" as retailers monitored rrps and promotions to ensure they were not at a
Booker is also trying to help retailers. Chief executive Charles Wilson told C-Store: "We have managed to hold the price on some products, however it's a low-margin business, particularly when it comes to wine, and we expect to see the trade pass on some of these costs in time."
Last week Bargain Booze sent a letter to suppliers asking them to keep prices down. "We regret to say that we cannot absorb the increases in costs that the Budget would seem to demand," it said. It asked suppliers to help by "absorbing these increases within your own company".
Meanwhile, independent retailers forced to pass on the increased costs have reported an immediate shift in consumer buying behaviour. Independent retailer Nigel Dowdney said: "Rather than buying less, shoppers have simply started opting for cheaper booze and cigarette brands."