RGDATA seeks scrapping of ‘structural separation’ proposals

In a letter to the newly-appointed Junior Health Minister Alex White RGDATA has urged the scrapping of proposals for the structural separation of liquor sales from the rest of retail sales in mixed trading outlets.

“We fear that the introduction of structural separation will put undue pressure on small retailers” argues RGDATA, “particularly where such retailers are in no way responsible for aggressive alcohol sales promotions.”

RGDATA pointed out to the Junior Minister that structural separation would have an extremely negative effect on its rural members.

The multiples and discounters are driving this need and not the smaller rural retailers who’d be more impacted by the estimated €100,000 cost of having to put in structural separation which would involve separate doors, separate staff etc RGDATA’s Director General Tara Buckley explained to Drinks Industry Ireland.

She also pointed out that a lot of its members are not selling a huge amount of alcohol but merely stock it as a convenience for their mixed trade customers. Many of its members are only hanging on to trade by the skin of their teeth at present and could therefore not afford the sums necessary to put in structural separation. They’d certainly be unlikely to get bank loans, she added, thus putting their whole business in jeopardy.

RGDATA doesn’t feel that it’s members are the pepole driving the problem, she stated. “They’re community retailers who know their customers and we’re concerned that structural separation might be introduced as a stop-gap without regard to our members,” she concluded.

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