Top stories in the papers this week 14 – 21 October 2011

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Picture shows Ruby Gilligan (aged 6) and Michael O’Brien (aged 7) celebrating Tesco Ireland doubling the number of DEIS primary schools nationwide receiving supports from its Stronger Starts schools programme Pic: Naoise Culhane-no fee

Plans to end cheap alcohol sales through minimum price; Asda slashes cost of 3,000 products; Health chiefs say €1 cigarette tax hike would save 15,000 lives



21 October 2011

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1. Plans to end cheap alcohol sales through minimum price and taxes

A government minister has revealed plans to end the sale of cheap drink by imposing a minimum price on top of taxes and excise duties. The Irish Times reports Roisin Shortall, junior minister in the Department of Health,  is supporting setting a minimum price per ounce of alcohol sold. However the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), has warned of the potential for court challenges if this was to be attempted.

2. Asda slashes cost of 3,000 products

The UK supermarket price war is escalating, with Asda pledging to slash the cost of 3,000 products this week. The Newsletter reports the retailer has also launched a £5 "thank you" voucher for every customer who spends £40 during the week to redeem off their next £40 shop. Asda introduced these initiatives after Tesco launched its own £500 million price-cutting campaign and Sainsbury’s unveiled its Brand Match scheme.

3. Health chiefs say €1 cigarette tax hike would save 15,000 lives

Health chiefs have called for a €1 tax hike on a packet of cigarettes in the budget in a bid to cut the number of smoking-related deaths by 15,000. The Irish Examiner states the Irish Heart Foundation has urged the Government not to make the same mistakes as the last administration, which imposed a tax freeze for two years. However Retailers Against Smuggling said the government must help tackle the rise in smuggled illegal cigarettes.

4. Pharmacists charge mark-ups of 354% on prescription medicines

Pharmacists are charging customers huge mark-ups that can double the price of medicines. An Irish Independent investigation found that pharmacists here impose mark-ups of between 73% and 354% on the wholesale price of prescription drugs for private customers. Research shows these mark-ups dwarf those charged in Britain and  Sweden and the Consumers’ Association of Ireland describes them as "outrageously high".

5. Britain’s £300m organic sales slump explained

In most of Europe, organic markets are growing, yet the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures show the UK’s organic market has slumped by £300m.  The Irish Examiner reports on a recent presentation at the Teagasc Organic conference that considered this topic. Research suggested some retailers had ‘jumped the gun’, getting cold feet and withdrawing products without sufficient evidence that the consumer doesn’t want organic.


Tesco’s job threat over plan for tax hike (Belfast Telegraph)

Some fresh thinking in store for Superquinn (Irish Times)

Footfall up as coldest August in 18 years leads more people into shops (Irish Examiner)

£85m: cost of illegal cigarettes to coffers (Belfast Telegraph)

Alcohol price clampdown will not affect jobs, says Shortall (Irish Examiner)

Consumer law set for ‘overhaul’ (Irish Times)

Drug gangs move on to cigarettes (Irish Independent)

Business crime has ‘devastating impact’ (Irish Examiner)

Irish Dairy Board opens €12.7m ingredients plant in Britain (Irish Examiner)

Retailers pin their hopes on Christmas revival (Guardian)

Brewers call for reduction in alcohol excise as beer market falls (Evening Echo)

UK retail sales show surprise increase (Irish Times)

Britain rivalled only by Estonia for fastest-rising cost of living increases in EU (Irish Times)

Back-to-school drive boosts sales, but retailers wary ahead of Christmas rush (Belfast Telegraph)



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