business news in context, analysis with attitude

In the UK, the Daily Mail reports that “supermarkets are selling beer at a cheaper price than water, fuelling concern over their role in Britain's binge-drinking crisis.”

Don Shenker, director of policy for Alcohol Concern, tells the paper: "There is no justification for the sale of lager at such a ridiculously low price. The fact that it is cheaper than their own brand of cola per litre is appalling.”

The prices appear to be not the result of a grand conspiracy to get kids to drink irresponsibly, but rather a price war between Tesco and Asda that has reduced the cost of alcoholic libations in the weeks before the end-of-year holidays.

KC's View:
At MNB World Headquarters, there is a phrase to describe a place like Britain where retailers engage in such low price policies on beer:

Our kind of country.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t as funny as it seemed when I thought of it. (I couldn’t help myself.)

Underage drinking clearly is a problem, and it probably makes sense for retailers not to engage in price wars that could exacerbate the problem.

It actually is a good example of the law of unintended consequences. I’d b wiling to bet a pint that nobody at Asda or Tesco ever considered the social ramifications when they were lowering prices. They were just thinking about aggressive competition and how to get customers into the stores. But in today’s PC world, you can't only think about that anymore. You also have to think about the broader picture.