Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Helping themselves

Tesco is quite successfully endorsing the alcohol campaigners' demands for minimum pricing of alcohol while at the same time maintaining its market share in cheap booze. Apparently some survey or other of Tesco customers showed that more than half believed that cheap alcohol was the cause of binge drinking. Faced with this devastatingly original insight, Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, wrote an article in The Daily Telegraph that endorsed minimum pricing and included this call to arms: "I think it is right that Tesco takes action." And this action is? Er ... wait around until the Government legislates on minimum pricing and then implement the law. In other words: nothing. The rest of Tesco's "action" seems to consist solely of aggressive marketing of cheap booze for the World Cup (£16 for two boxes of beer, or just over 50p per can or bottle).

When, as seems likely, the government introduces minimum pricing for alcohol, the extra money will rattle into Tesco's tills, so they win whatever happens. A wonderfully profitable basis for Tesco's concerned moral stance.

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