Belfast Telegraph

Sainsbury’s in court fight over off-licence

By Alan Erwin

A High Court judge is being urged to ban Sainsbury's from opening an off-licence at its new Co Down store.

Competitors in Bangor argue that demand is already being met within the vicinity of the retail giant's Balloo Park outlet.

Wine Inns Ltd, Russell Cellars and Winemark are all challenging a County Court decision which gave the green light for off-sales at the supermarket.

Mr Justice Gillen, who is hearing an appeal against that ruling, was told the Sainsbury's store would be stocking 350 exclusive wines.

Ian Foster, a planning expert on behalf of Sainsbury's, told the court it was attractive to the general public.

Stewart Beattie QC, for the rival business, said nine off-licences identified on a map of the area together stock in excess of 6,000 products and 2,500 ranges.

He put it to Mr Foster: “You have no evidence to suggest any cartel or patterns in terms of issues with competition.”

The expert confirmed he had not. According to Mr Foster it showed a wide and varied demand for products.

The hearing continues.

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