The off-trade has slashed its test-purchasing failure rate by a third and is continuing to call on the government to hold back on changes to the code of practice that would allow children to lie about their age.
In the biggest crackdown on sales of alcohol to under 18s in the six weeks up to the new year, 6,000 test purchasing operations were carried out. Off-licences had a 19% failure rate compared with 32% during the summer.
Asda failed only 7% of test purchasing compared with 42.5% in the summer. Tesco had a 16% failure rate compared with 53%. Sainsbury and Somerfield halved their rates to 16% and 20% respectively, Morrisons fell to 15% from 46.1%, and the Co-operatives failed 17% compared with 47.2%.
Both the ACS and BRC said the figures showed the industry was acting and a change to the rules was not necessary.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke recognised the industry’s achievements but warned that test purchasing would continue.