It is our view that it would be premature to state unequivocally whether the 2010 Alcohol Act had reduced alcohol consumption in Scotland.
Having talked to our members we do not recognise the drop in alcohol sales to the magnitude suggested by the Nielsen figures reported in The Grocer.
That is not to say that sales aren’t suffering right now. This is an exceptionally difficult time for retailers, particularly in Scotland where consumer confidence and sales are lagging behind the rest of the UK.
Even the most cursory glance at the latest retail figures demonstrates how difficult the retailing environment in Scotland is and how exceptionally careful consumers are being with their money.
What the figures don’t report is whether there has been any corresponding increase in online sales and upon whose shoulders any reported decline in consumption rests.
My fear, as with minimum pricing, is that when government interferes with price it is the low and moderate drinkers which are penalised the most.