Independent retailers in Scotland have said they are well prepared for new minimum unit pricing (MUP) legislation, which comes into force this week.
The new law will be introduced by the Scottish government on Tuesday (May 1), in an attempt to reduce the number of problem drinkers in Scotland. The 50p unit price means the cost of the strongest and cheapest alcohol will increase.
Steven Wilson, of Scott Street Store in Galishiels, has been running down his range of two and three litre bottles of cider.
He said: “Since selling out of the large cider bottles we haven’t seen a hit on sales. Lots of customers are buying four packs instead.
“In terms of beer we didn’t really sell any high strength lines. Other high strength products we sell are over £13 a line anyway so it doesn’t affect them. We’ve put a notice up explaining to customers what’s happened.”
Wilson Rea, owner of a KeyStore More store in Lanark, said: “We’ve phased out all pricemarked ciders and whiskeys. We’ve replaced the likes of Frosty Jack 3 litre bottles with one litre lines, so customers can still buy Frosty Jacks if they want to.
“The support we’ve had from JW Filshill couldn’t have been better, the reps are always communicating with us about it. The SGF (Scottish Grocers Federation) has put out a booklet which has been really useful and explains how it all works and how to calculate the pricing.”
He added: “I’ve communicated with my customers about the changes, with POS support from the SGF, but otherwise they wouldn’t know anything about it.”
A recent HIM study found that 70% of retailers are considering range changes as a result of minimum unit pricing, which means they need continued support from suppliers.
The study also found that 46% of retailers who plan to change their range are looking to reduce the number of cider skus they sell in their store.
Calum Duncan, manager of Crown Stores in Inverness, has also adapted his alcohol range but has been left frustrated by the slow response from suppliers.
He said: “We’re all prepared, just price-marked Lambrini to sell the remainder of, but we’ve had no visits from any government officials. The wholesalers have been very slow at responding and getting rid of PMPs.
“We’ve also discounted our Whitestorm and Blackthorn cider and moved more into non price-marked packs until the wholesalers and manufacturers catch up.”