As liquor stores find their feet, discounts on bottles a pleasant first in Delhi | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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As liquor stores find their feet, discounts on bottles a pleasant first in Delhi

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Feb 06, 2022 11:49 PM IST

Stores across the national capital are adopting competitive pricing – a practise that was not allowed in Delhi under the old excise regime

With the new liquor policy of the Delhi government offering retailers flexibility in fixing the prices of their retail stock, many vend owners in the national capital are doling out discounts -- of about 30 to 40% -- on Indian as well as imported brands, much to the delight of customers.

The new excise regime has seen a range of sweeping reforms to boost the city’s revenue, including measures to crack down on the liquor mafia, and improve user experience. (Picture for representation only/HT Archive)
The new excise regime has seen a range of sweeping reforms to boost the city’s revenue, including measures to crack down on the liquor mafia, and improve user experience. (Picture for representation only/HT Archive)

On Saturday, Hindustan Times spoke to several stores across the national capital and found that retailers are adopting competitive pricing – a practise that was not allowed in Delhi under the old excise regime.

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Most retailers have come out with brochures listing the various offers up for grabs, in an effort to keeps their rates competitive, not just in comparison with other liquor stores but also with neighbouring Gurugram and Noida.

An analysis by HT showed that a section of retailers is now offering certain brands, including premium foreign brands, cheaper than even Gurugram.

For example, in Gurugram, Chivas Regal (12 years) is being sold at 2,150 with a discount of 150 per bottle on purchase of three bottles. A few Delhi stores are selling the bottle for 1,890, way below its maximum retail price (MRP) of 2,920 in Delhi. Another shop in the national capital is offering the same brand and bottle for 1,995, again cheaper than Gurugram.

Whisky Theka, operated by JSN Infratech LLP, which has 54 stores across Delhi, is offering premium brands such as Glenlivet (18 years old batch reserve) (700ML) at 5,115 instead of the MRP 7,415. Whisky Talisker 10 years (750ML) is being offered for 3,125 against an MRP of 4,350, Jack Daniel’s at 1,885 against an MRP of 2,730, and Absolut Vodka at 995 in place of its MRP of 1,520.

In wines, the company is guaranteeing that the current rates in its stores, after discount, are cheaper than those in Gurugram. Jacob’s Creek is being offered for 795 instead of 1,180 MRP, Chateau Puygueraud is available at 4,980 against 7,220 MRP and Mateus Rose is being sold at 1,230 instead 1,700 MRP.

Companies such as Alco Mart and Nova Garments, which have at least 27 stores across Delhi, are offering even bigger discounts by slashing rates of most of their stock by 35%.

Here Jack Daniel’s is available for 1,775, Absolut Vodka for 985, Jacob’s Creek for 765, Ballentine’s Finest for 970 instead of 1,490 MRP, Johnnie Walker Black Label for 1,935 against 2,980 MRP, Bombay Sapphire Gin for 1,330 in place of 2,050 MRP and Jagermeister at 2,060 instead of 3,170 MRP.

On July 1, 2021, HT was the first to report that under the new excise policy, which came into effect on November 16 2021, Delhi for the first time will start allowing discounts on the retail sale of liquor. Under the old regime, retailers were allowed to sell bottles only at rates prescribed by the Delhi government.

“Contrary to views of many who assumed that the cost of liquor will go up under the new excise regime, the retail market has already started to respond favourably. As more and more shops are opening in Delhi, licensees have got into competitive pricing and have started offering discounts. For the last four months, Delhi lost a bit of its consumers to Gurugram and Noida as the city was transitioning to the new excise regime. Things have started to look up now and business is getting back on track,” a senior excise official said, on condition of anonymity.

Retailers said they are offering discounts even beyond the per bottle rates. “If people buy liquor in crates and not just bottles, we are offering even bigger discounts. The supply issues have been plugged to a large extent and almost all major brands are available in Delhi now. Gradually, more and more brands are getting registered. Supply was hit badly in the last three months as trucks could not reach Delhi due to anti-pollution curbs and fewer brands were registered with the government,” said a senior representative of Alco Mart, asking not to be named.

Shriparna Saha, a media professional said the discounts offered by liquor shops in Delhi were attracting people from Gurugram and other neighbouring cities.

“The buying experience in my area has improved. Shops are nice and feel safe. The new offers for even premium brands has excited all of us. It’s a much-needed policy change,” she said.

Data with the Delhi excise department showed that at least 800 liquor brands have registered with the government under the new regime. In the old system, anywhere between 1,600 and 1,800 brands were registered with the Delhi government.

Under the new policy, the Delhi government has set the maximum retail price of each liquor brand and its make, and retailers are free to charge anything within that MRP, but not beyond that. “The excise commissioner will fix the MRP for each product after taking into account the inputs from L-7Z and L-7SP1 (super premium vends) licensees, and the price of the product in the neighbouring states -- Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. The excise commissioner will also provide each L-7Z and L-7SP1 licensee an opportunity to be heard,” the final policy states.

It further states that a similar process will be followed at the time of introduction of new brands. “The licensee is free to give concession, rebate or discount on the MRP,” the policy stated.

The new excise regime has seen a range of sweeping reforms to boost the city’s revenue, including measures to crack down on the liquor mafia, and improve user experience.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sweta Goswami writes on politics, urban development, transportation, energy and social welfare. Based in Delhi, she tracks government policies and suggests corrections based on public feedback and on-ground implementation through her reports. She has also covered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since its inception.

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