EXCLUSIVE: Retailer ejected from Nisa symbol group

A retailer found guilty of selling illicit alcohol has been kicked out of his symbol group and had his fascia removed.

Nisa has ejected Kulasingatharmarasa Nimalathasan of Nisa Local in Northampton from its symbol group, following his prosecution for having 300 bottles of illicit alcohol disguised as Glen’s Vodka.

The retailer was tipped off to the authorities when a customer buying a bottle of Glen’s told Northhamptonshire trading standards that it didn’t “smell or taste right”. Nimalathasan pleaded guilty and was fined more than £4,000.

“We can confirm that we will be removing the fascia from the store and ejecting the store from the Nisa symbol group”

– Nigel Gray, Nisa

Nigel Gray, business unit director for symbol, told Retail Express that the store would no longer be allowed to trade under Nisa’s branding.

“Although all stores in Nisa membership are independently owned, and therefore have the flexibility to source products from a variety of suppliers, we do not in any way condone the selling of any illegal products in store,” he said. “We can confirm that we will be removing the fascia from the store and ejecting the store from the Nisa symbol group.”

A spokesperson for Loch Lomond Group, which owns the Glen’s brand, said: “We are working closely with all relevant agencies to tackle these isolated incidents relating to Glen’s. We have recently changed the labelling on bottles of Glen’s to include embossing, which makes it more difficult for counterfeiters to copy the packaging.”

In the wake of the store being stripped of its fascia, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association encouraged trading standards to give a high priority to intelligence-led anti-counterfeiting operations to stamp the problem out.

Nisa’s stand against the counterfeit seller follows Bestway’s decision last month to stop supplying a Manchester shop found to be running an illicit tobacco operation. The wholesaler called for more suppliers to follow its lead.

In June, Spar, One Stop, Today’s Group and Landmark joined Retail Express’ Smoke Them Out campaign and committed to a zero tolerance approach to any of their symbol group members prosecuted for illicit trading.

OUR SAY: Industry must crack down hard on counterfeit sellers


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