ACS deems product location restriction impractical for small stores

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on reducing harms from high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products, raising concerns about proposals to restrict the location of confectionery, biscuits, crisps and other products.

The consultation proposes a range of measures to restrict the ways that HFSS products can be sold, including restrictions on:

• Multibuys
• Sale of unlimited amounts for a fixed charge
• Free samples
• Upselling
• In store advertising
• Shelf edge displays and signage
• Placement at checkouts, end of aisle, front of store, island/bin displays and other areas

ACS' response to the consultation highlighted the practical challenges that restrictions on the location of products in-store will have on small shops, noting that over half of convenience stores in Scotland are smaller than 1,000 sq ft and may not have the capacity to change the layout of their store.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said, “Convenience retailers have an important role to play in promoting healthy eating and ensuring that healthy products are available for customers. Over the last year, ACS has been working with Peas Please through the sponsorship of industry fresh produce awards to promote best practice in selling more fruit and veg, as well as the development of a retailer toolkit.

“We believe that any measures to restrict the promotion and sale of HFSS products must be evidence based and not disproportionately affect small stores. Promotions are an important way that smaller stores deliver value and compete with other businesses, by restricting the use of these tools for certain products, smaller retailers will be disadvantaged.

'The Scottish Government must also consider that their proposals to restrict the areas of a store where these products can be sold will present significant problems for the smallest stores, who do not have the resources or flexibility to change the layout of their shop.'