New guidance has been published for retailers on local schemes aimed at voluntarily removing high strength alcohol products from sale.

The Association of Convenience Stores and Wine and Spirit Trade Association have developed the advice following concerns raised about the approach of so called ‘Reducing the Strength’ initiatives across the UK.

The guidance sets out the competition risks associated with engaging with an initiative and provides retailers with a framework to assess the quality and effectiveness of an initiative before deciding whether to engage.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “There are undoubtedly competition risks associated with local initiative, so we want to provide retailers with the best tools to make the right decision for their business.

“We hope this will encourage closer relationships between local authorities and retailers to tackle alcohol harm.”

The proliferation of local initiatives over the last 18 months has been significant with an estimated 84 initiatives in existence.

The document ‘Retailer Guidance: Reducing the Strength Initiatives’ is available here. It complements existing guidance from the CMA on avoiding potential competition risks associated with local schemes. The CMA guidance is available here.