Palmer & Harvey is trialling a new alcohol direct van sales service.

Retailer Avtar Sidhu who owns Sukhi’s Simply Fresh in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, is participating in the trial. Up to three vehicles are understood to be taking part and will be visiting trial stores once a week, he told C-Store.

“They’ll have a limited supply of best sellers and are doing direct deals with wine and alcohol suppliers. A lot of alcohol suppliers haven’t got a direct route to market, so it’s a way for them to gather data,” he said. “I think it’s a really smart move and they’re getting in on it at the right time. The grey market is rife and once the new wholesaler regulations come into place, a lot of smaller [wholesale] players will be shut down for evading tax and duty.

“It has a knock-on effect because retailers who have been using the grey market will have to have accounts with legitimate firms. Not only will Palmer & Harvey get business from these guys, but also, if it’s coming to your doorstep, it ticks a box.”

P&H declined to comment on the trial.

Wholesalers must now be signed up to HMRC’s Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme to prove they are trading legally. It goes live in April 2017.