Monday, 4 July 2011

Cider at 51p a can, 2004: supermarket prices didn't kill pubs

Thanks to Dave Atherton for this one. The Guardian (2004) reports concerns about supermarkets selling at much lower prices than pubs at a time when it was planned to regulate drink pricing in pubs and clubs.

This gives the lie to the notion that supermarket prices are killing pubs. Supermarket prices were known to be a factor before the smoking ban was voted in. Also, the Scottish Government account suggests that prices have been a factor over a longer term, rather than just since the smoking ban.
But the increasing affordability of alcohol is not uniform across sectors. While on-sales ( e.g. pubs) prices have generally increased above the Retail Price Index ( RPI) over the last 20 years, off-sales ( e.g. shops and supermarkets) prices have remained more static and below RPI. [para 25]
Supermarket prices cannot explain the rapid deterioration in pub fortunes that followed the implementation of smoking bans.

Knowledge of this threat to the pub sector didn't do much to prevent the legislation being approved in Parliament (or Holyrood). It is hard to understand how licensees and their representative organisations were been led to believe that their fortunes would be improved by the smoking ban, knowing that off-sales were already undercutting them

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