Symbol group and wholesaler promotions are once again being pulled as a result of supplier availability problems.

Retailers and wholesale bosses told betterRetailing they had seen alcohol and soft drink suppliers cancel promotions on many core lines, due to shortages. In a list of 123 promotional changes between April and June, sent by Nisa to retailers and seen by betterRetailing, 99 promotions had been removed due to a supplier issue, availability issues or a supplier range rationalisations in order to meet demand on other lines.

This included products from Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, Mondelez, Britvic, PepsiCo, Danone Waters, Tennents, Carlsberg, Unilever, Kellogg and Coca Cola Europacific Partners.

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One store owner told betterRetailing: “A lot of these products need to be on promotion, otherwise customers won’t buy it. We run as many promotions as we can because it attracts customers into the store.”

Wholesale expert David Gilroy told betterRetailing the removal of promotions was caused partly by the national driver shortage. “Suppliers have come to the view there’s no point in driving sales through promotions when they don’t have the volume to stand behind it. They’ve dialled back on promotions to dampen demand,” he said.

Gilroy added retailers have an opportunity to offset the loss in volume sales through the additional margin on non-promotional lines. “Even though prices are going up, the opportunity for more cash profit on lower volume is what retailers should be thinking about.”

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One retailer, who asked not to be named, agreed, adding stores could waste an opportunity by relying on too many promotions during a key seasonal period. “I’m not the biggest fan of promoting products when sales are already increasing.

“Core lines like soft drinks and beer won’t need to be on promotion in the summer when there’s already high demand. Why throw away margin?

“It’s similar to the CO2 shortage. Why would we promote and lose margin when stock is hard to get?”

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However, one wholesale boss warned retailers to be careful with the removal of promotions, adding it could “alienate customers in the long run.”

Carlsberg and Lucozade parent company Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I responded denying the claims their products had been delisted or had their promotions changed.

A Carlsberg and Mondelez spokesperson said stores were free to set their own pricing.

A CCEP spokesperson added it was not reducing promotional support and has a “strong quarter three coming up.”

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