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Call Me Dave has recently made the claim that supermarkets are subsidising alcohol sales at the expense of wholesome food by selling alcohol cheaply, or even at a loss.
This has been vigorously debunked by Tim Worstall and by Legiron. Amongst the points they make are:

  • Supermarkets don’t make profits by selling any significant proportion of goods at a loss
  • Most discounts are in any case funded by manufacturers rather than retailers
  • Supermarkets will only make money by subsidising one part of a customer’s basket at the expense of other parts. They won’t make money by subsidising some customers at the expense of others
  • Supermarkets are in general cheaper than other retailers, even those who don’t sell alcohol, across the whole range of goods

Cameron’s comment that “there are some supermarkets that discount tins of high-strength lager down to, you know, 25-30p” is completely untrue and just shows how out-of-touch he is. In reality, you would struggle to get one below £1.50.
And I love this comment from Legiron:
It’s simple. If any shop is making a consistent loss on a product line, they stop selling it. That’s why the beer selection changes – if it’s not popular, it doesn’t get re-stocked. No shop anywhere is going to put up the price of their standard fare (McEwan’s Export in these parts) to subsidise the loss-making craft beer known as Jock McSquirty’s Bowel Purger.
To be honest, all this really proves is how disconnected Dave is from the ordinary voter.