Below cost sales “harming hospitality” — Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD
Somewhat late out of the traps, Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire Mary Mitchell O’Connor has called for the issue of below-cost selling on alcohol to be addressed as a matter of priority “as it’s harming the hospitality industry and encouraging more people to drink in the home".
4 October 2013
“The issue of below-cost selling is becoming more and more damaging to the hospitality industry as restaurants and pubs are experiencing a significant shift of customers away from their doors,” she stated recently, “With supermarkets being able to buy in bulk, they can offer significant reductions on beer and wine which people are purchasing and drinking in their homes.
“Two worrying aspects of this for me are that, not only are pubs and restaurants unable to keep up with below-cost retailers due to the increased excise tax introduced last year, but the rise in alcohol consumption in the home is cause for concern from a health point of view.
“I am concerned for the future of small struggling retailers who will simply not be able to keep up with this unfair competition between them and the supermarkets and I am urging the Minister for Finance to consider introducing measures to ban the below-cost selling of alcohol to ensure a level playing field for those competing in this sector.”
Somewhat belatedly the Dun Laoghaire TD has woken up to the fact that since 2007 below-cost selling has been to a great degree responsible for the closure of nearly 1,000 on-trade outlets as well as many off-licences across the country.
The sharp rise in uncontrolled consumption of alcohol in the home can also be laid at the door of this irresponsible practice.
In response to the TD’s statement, NOffLA Chairman Evelyn Jones said, “NOffLA welcomes Deputy Mitchell O’Connor’s call on the Minister for Finance to introduce measures to ban the below-cost selling of alcohol. There are a number of other deputies who support the ban and I hope that they will continue to push for this irresponsible practice to be abolished as soon as possible.
“Eliminating the practice of below-cost selling would ensure an additional €21 million in revenue for the State each year if that alcohol was retailed in a responsible manner. Excessive discounting of alcohol would effectively be a thing of the past which would go a long way to ensuring the country had a healthier relationship with alcohol.
“Ahead of Budget 2014, NOffLA urges all those negatively affected by the practice of below-cost selling to call on Government to stop the practice of below cost-selling of alcohol,” she concluded.