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.