40% of households going to NI buy alcohol

The introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing in the absence of similar legislation being introduced in Northern Ireland could intensify cross-border shopping for alcohol, hitting the Irish economy and border counties, the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland warned today. 

ABFI has said that the introduction of MUP should only be done in conjunction with Northern Ireland. It has also said that a ban on below-cost-selling should be introduced instead to tackle the sale of cheap alcohol.

This comes as new figures from the Central Statistics Office indicate that 40% of households travelling to Northern Ireland in the 12 months to the end of the first quarter of this year bought alcohol.

The total household expenditure on shopping in Northern Ireland in this 12 month period to Quarter One 2018 was €458 million.

And the CSO figures from this survey show that the average amount spent by households on their most recent shopping trip to Northern Ireland was €275 with 14% of all households making at least one shopping trip to Northern Ireland during the surveyed period.

In border counties, nearly six out of every 10 (57.3%) households comprising three or more adults with dependent children made shopping trips to Northern Ireland.

At 65.8% Food and groceries was the most common category among all households who shopped in Northern Ireland; 54.7% bought Clothes, footwear and sports goods; 40% bought Alcohol; 21.7% purchased Cosmetics and 13.5% purchased petrol/diesel.

And the introduction of MUP in the Republic would intensify cross-border shopping which is already high, pointed out ABFI Director Patricia Callan,  “We firmly believe that any government decision about Minimum Unit Pricing should be done alongside Northern Ireland to ensure there isn’t a disparity,” she stated, “Given the current political context in Northern Ireland, this could take some time. In the interim, we believe that a ban on below-cost-selling should be introduced to tackle the sale of cheap alcohol in a quick and effective manner.

“A ban on below-cost-selling would ensure alcohol is not sold as a loss leader and would end the deep discounting that distorts the market.”



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