Small Shop Representative Gives Evidence to Finance Committee on Alcohol Bill

John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), has warned MSPs of the risk to small shops if measures included in the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Bill, to restrict promotions proceed without a price mechanism to control below cost selling.

Providing oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee on the Financial Memorandum to the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Bill, John Drummond said,

“We would have great concerns if the promotional programme that is available to retailers relates only to price. In the absence of a price mechanism that will control the floor price, we could see some very deep discounting, particularly by those that can afford to do it—the supermarkets, with deeper pockets and greater bargaining power than small shops. Small shops would suffer, because they would not be able to run the kind of promotions that remove price as the key element of such activity.”

During the meeting John referred to some of the unintended consequences of minimum pricing which could affect the small store sector in Scotland including cross border trading, an increase in the illicit trade and an increase in internet trading with alcohol being dispatched from south of the Border to evade a minimum pricing policy.

Commenting after the meeting John said, “It is important if any further alcohol legislation is introduced, that it is proportionate and MSPs understand the consequences their decisions could have on small shops across Scotland. If bulk buy promotions are introduced there must be a pricing mechanism to restrict below cost selling. Otherwise MSPs will be playing into the hands of the supermarkets to the detriment of small shops.”