Alcohol sales growth

United Wholesale Grocers, which operates the Lifestyle Express and Shop Local fascias in Scotland, told betterRetailing sales have increased since MUP. Managing director Amaan Ramzan said: “Cider sales have gone down, but alcohol sales are up overall.

“We’re seeing increases in products such as Buckfast and fruit wines. Many alcohol products are the same price now, but a lot of our retail customers are also experimenting with new products. It’s a mix of experimentation and a level playing field for alcohol pricing that has increased sales. We’ve helped our retailers make the most of it by developing promotional marketing for in-store and online.”

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Costcutter marketing director Sean Russell added: “We are working closely to support our retailers following the introduction of the minimum unit pricing. At the moment, we have seen beer, wine and spirit sales (BWS) up by 11%, and our expectation is that our retailers will continue to enjoy robust BWS sales due to the strength of our offer. In particular, we are seeing a shift towards a more premium mix with a notable spike in the sales of flavoured, heritage and craft beers and ciders.”

Scottish Wholesale Association chief executive Colin Smith added that wholesalers across Scotland have also reported sales increases in alcohol.   

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According to NHS Scotland, the total volume of alcohol sold per adult in 2018 was 19 units per week.  This is equivalent to more than eight 568ml cans of Foster’s lager. The total amount of alcohol sold per adult in supermarkets and off-licences had also fallen by 9% since 2010. 

Despite the drop, the volume of alcohol sold in Scotland last year was still 9% higher than England and Wales combined. 

NHS Scotland’s figures come a year after MUP was introduced. The legislation was designed to tackle binge drinking by charging a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol. NHS Scotland’s data only covers the eight-month period following MUP’s introduction.

Find out how minimum unit pricing has boosted sales, footfall and margins