UK supermarket chain 99p Stores’ plans to sell wine for 99p a bottle, to the dismay of some alcohol awareness professionals.
The discount retailer is applying for alcohol licences, and, if approved, could be selling £0.99 wine later this year.
At that price, the wine would be less than half the price of the next cheapest supermarket offer – Asda’s Emilio Rosso Lambrusco at £2.08.
Sir Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, condemned the idea yesterday as ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ at a time when health damage and alcohol-related crime is on the rise.
‘The move to market drink in small, cheap packages is grossly irresponsible’, Gilmore said.
However Chris Soreck, chief executive of alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware, said people’s attitude towards alcohol is as much to blame for binge drinking as cut-price drinks.
‘Supply and price are far from the only factors in driving alcohol misuse – demand and attitudes towards alcohol are crucial’, Soreck said.
Hussein Lalani, commercial director of 99p Stores, defended the initiative. ‘I am offering people what they want and responding to customer feedback’, he said.
‘We are a responsible retailer and we have a very good track record on dealing with underage sales’, he added.
News of the plan comes hot on the heels of the Government’s health watchdog calling for a minimum price to be set on alcohol.
99p Stores operates 129 outlets in the UK.
Written by Lucy Shaw