Update: Centra has apologised and said it is withdrawing the promotional leaflet
TWO CENTRA SHOPS in Dublin have been criticised for distributing a leaflet with Children’s Allowance Day deals which include special offers for crates of beer.
The leaflet is being distributed by Centra stores in Fairview and East Wall in north Dublin and has been heavily criticised with Retail Excellence Ireland’s David Fitzsimons describing them as “irresponsible” and “stupid”.
Alcohol Action Ireland said that the leaflet was “totally irresponsible”.
The A4 leaflet contains the heading ‘Children’s Allowance Day Deals’ running from today until Thursday and encourages customers to “make your money last” with offers for bacon, jaffa cakes, crisps, cabbage on the front:
Pictures used with permission
On the back of the leaflet there are more offers including for fig rolls, french stick bread, water and beer including a crate of 20 bottles of Miller for €15 and two crates of Budweiser for €25:
Pictures used with permission
Neither of the two stores, run by retailer Lil Courtney, could be reached for comment and a request for comment from Musgraves, which runs Centra, was not immediately returned. It is believed that the company is working on a statement.
The Fairview store, which has been open for six years, last year won the Gold Award for Stores 4,000 to 8,000 sq ft and overall Platinum Award for the National Convenience Store of the Year from Ireland’s retail authority ShelfLife.
David Fitzsimons from Retail Excellence Ireland told TheJournal.ie that the marketing material was “irresponsible” adding: “It’s stupid and it doesn’t do retail industry any good.
“All retailers have a moral responsibility to customers. They also have to show a bit of cop on and in this case they have demonstrated a lack of cop on.”
He suggested that it was unlikely that Musgrave would have sanctioned such advertisements centrally and that this was an “ill-informed, poorly judged solo run” by the retailer who runs the two stores.
Alcohol Action Ireland said that such promotions underlined the need for tighter regulation in relation to the sale of alcohol with groceries.
“Considering one in 11 children in Ireland are living with a parent with problematic alcohol use then any link between parenting and buying cut price alcohol is totally irresponsible – It doesn’t serve the retailer or the family well,” said Fiona Ryan, Director of Alcohol Action Ireland.
The Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power tweeted about the leaflet and told TheJournal.ie that it was “disgraceful”.
“I’m genuinely shocked at a company like Centra, a major brand,” she said, adding that she was calling for the material to be withdrawn.
“Children’s allowance is to help feed and clothe kids. It’s insulting to parents at the current time who are struggling to buy basics for the kids,” she added.
The Dublin-based senator also said that she would be writing to Centra Head Office as well as the Director of Consumer Affairs, the Advertising Standards Authority, the Minister for Health, the Minister for Social Protection and business representative groups to ask them to intervene.
Twitter user Ciaran who first tweeted about the leaflet and pictures of it said that he was “quite shocked” when he saw it last night: ”Whatever people choose to spend their allowance on is one thing.
“But it is a payment by the State for children and businesses should have enough ethical sense that they shouldn’t be advertising something that should not be consumed by children as a way to spend State money which is quite clearly the message I got from it.”
On Twitter, the chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardos, Fergus Finlay, said: “Centra promoting cheap beer as a “children’s allowance day deal”. Hard to imagine anything more exploitative and abusive. Disgusting.”