Supermarket loyalty schemes on alcohol sales prohibited under new NI licensing laws
From Thursday 6th April 2023, shops and supermarkets in Northern Ireland which sell alcohol can no longer offer loyalty schemes on alcohol sales.
It is the final in a series of changes under new laws passed by Stormont in 2021 and sees the prohibition of loyalty schemes introduced from this month.
Major retailers including Tesco and Sainsbury’s have used signage in their stores to notify customers of the changes, which no longer allows them to offer Clubcard or Nectar points on alcohol products.
The law applies to all alcohol sellers in Northern Ireland, including shops and supermarkets.
The new law is phase five of the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2021, with Article 57ZB prohibiting licence holders from “operating a membership scheme which provides rewards to its members when purchasing intoxicating liquor and allows the member to redeem the rewards to reduce the price of the intoxicating liquor or receive it free of charge”.
Operating such a scheme carries a fine of up to £5000.
The Department for Communities is responsible for the policy and legislation regulating the retail sale and supply of alcoholic drinks in NI. The current law dates back to 1996 and reform was an Executive priority under the New Decade New Approach deal.
Key changes in the new law also includes the prohibition of self-service of alcohol and sales by vending machines and restrictions placed on off-sales drinks promotions.
The aim of licensing law is to “try and strike a balance between the controls which are necessary for the protection of public health and the preservation of public order, and on the other hand, individual freedom of choice and the opportunity for local businesses to meet customer’s expectations”.