Letter querying Sainsbury’s licensing policy

I wrote today to Sainsbury’s solicitor who dealt with their applications in the city. Following Mr Botkai’s comments that Sainsbury’s had a very restrained approach to alcohol sales I wanted to understand why their ‘Local’ stores which I had passed did not meet the policy as it had been explained to me.

Robert Botkai

Partner – Property & Licensing,

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Minerva House

5 Montague Close

London SE1 9BB

10th January 2011 (via email)

Dear Mr Botkai

When you presented the licence application for Sainsbury’s Local North Street, Brighton on 21st December 2010 you made a number of statements about company-wide policies. These were in relation to Sainsbury’s policies with regards to the sale of alcohol at the ‘local’ type stores.

Specifically you asserted that, as a matter of national policy:

1. Sainsbury’s Locals do not promote alcohol in the high profile doorway shelves.

2. Sainsbury’s Locals do not have posters on their exterior to promote alcohol-related deals.

I queried this as I had noted a wine promotion in the doorway shelving of Sainsbury’s Local on Western Road near Preston Street. The regional manager with you at the hearing stated this was an error by the store manager, as it was against your policies.

However a few days later (23rd December 2010) I still observed a wine promotion in the doorway of the Western Road (Brighton) store. At the Western Road (Hove) store I again noted an alcohol promotion by the doorway, plus a poster promoting a deal on beer. (Images of these are attached)

I recognise that other stores including Tesco and Somerfield have similar practices of promoting alcohol deals. However, you made specific play of Sainsbury’s responsible licensing policies in relation to placement and promotion at their ‘local’ stores.

Could you clarify for me the status and detail of these policies. Are Sainsbury’s Local stores in Brighton & Hove all in breach of the national policies, or are the policies not as prohibitive as suggested?

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Cllr Jason Kitcat

Encl. [See the images on Flickr]

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