Changes to legislation have been a prominent topic over recent years. TPD2 and the sugar tax are directly and indirectly affecting specific categories, while pension auto-enrolment and the National Living Wage increases are putting a greater strain on independent retailers’ bottom line, writes HIM’s Josh Clifton.

Most suppliers and retailers have addressed the impact of these legislative changes and have embedded them into their strategies, but how prepared are they for the changes that are upcoming?

Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol comes into effect this week in Scotland, and will dictate that a base price of 50p per unit is charged across all alcohol SKUs. Many believe that white ciders and value spirits will be the categories most affected.

While the legislation is currently set to be implemented in Scotland only, there is already talk of similar regulation being introduced across the rest of the UK, so it is imperative that BWS suppliers begin to understand the threats and opportunities MUP may present for their brands.

So how prepared are retailers in Scotland for this impending legislation? We spoke directly to a number of Scottish independent and symbol retailers to find out how aware they are of the legislation, and what impact they believe it will have on their decision-making. The insights gathered shed light on how best BWS suppliers can support retailers during this challenging time – and it’s not just about advising on post-MUP pricing and ranges.

More than 24% of the Scottish retailers we spoke to still do not feel prepared for MUP and there is concern about visit frequency, redundant categories and a drop in spend.

Some 70% of retailers say they are considering range changes as a result of MUP. Given these responses, it is important that suppliers understand the concerns and challenges that they face in order to avoid their products disappearing from shelves. Implementing the support and upskilling that retailers have told us they require will provide a platform for turning MUP from a potential threat into an opportunity.