Off-trade

Tesco bites back

A claim by Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty that the Revenue Commissioners were losing millions in VAT revenue by the continued practice of below-cost selling of Bulmers cider by supermarkets such as Tesco was refuted by the multiple recently.

The Meath TD had claimed that a June Bank Holiday deal on Bulmers in Tesco stores nationwide over the Bank Holiday had cost the RCs €250,000 in lost VAT.

She claimed, “Tesco bought 70 containers, or 145,900 cases, of Bulmers for sale over the Whit weekend. Each case was bought for €27 plus VAT and sold onto Tesco’s customers at a rate of €24 including VAT. By my reckoning, that amounts to a total of €251,000 in VAT lost to the State over just one weekend.

“If this scenario was replicated in the case of Dunnes, SuperValu, Spar, Aldi and Lidl and all other brands of alcohol are taken into account, the impact in terms of lost VAT to the State runs into millions. Given the financial difficulties we are currently facing, not to mention the impact the availability of cheap alcohol is having on our health, this is something which urgently needs to be addressed.”

However, in a rare response, Tesco claimed to be “surprised by the allegations made by Deputy Doherty. The claims made are incorrect and her conclusions are misleading. The cases in question were bought for less than €24 and there was no loss of VAT income to the Revenue Commissioners”. The multiple went on to claim, “We do not sell alcohol below-cost as a matter of policy nor did we do so in this instance.

“We would challenge Deputy Doherty to provide documentary evidence to substantiate her claims and we note that Deputy Doherty’s press statement no longer appears on the Fine Gael website.

“Tesco is committed to the responsible retailing of alcohol to our customers and takes these allegations very seriously.”

When  contacted by Drinks Industry Ireland, Tesco Ireland’s Communications Manager Seamus Banim limited his response to the statement already put out and would not go into where in Tesco’s policy the below-cost-selling of alcohol is ruled out.

 

Sign up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's Free