In Brief

Asda to convert Netto storesAsda is to significantly expand its position in small-format grocery retailing with a deal to buy the British Netto stores of Danish retail group Dansk Supermarked for £778 million. All Netto branches will be converted to Asda fascias and be integrated into its supermarkets division for shops of under 25,000sq ft. Asda said it expected the deal to be completed this summer and for stores to be converted to the Asda format by the middle of next year.

Many exceeding unit limitsMore than a third of English men and a quarter of women regularly exceed the daily government drinking guidelines. Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show that 38% of men drank more than the four-unit limit on at least one day in the week before being interviewed. The recommended limit for women of three units was exceeded by 29% of women on at least one day in the previous week. The average weekly alcohol consumption was 16.8 units for men and 8.6 units for women, ONS stated in the figures for 2008.

NZ’s little beautyA range of wines from a boutique New Zealand producer is being rolled out in take-home two years after entering the on-trade. Little Beauty is a range of single vineyard wines from Vinultra in Marlborough’s Waihopai Valley. The range includes Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir, with rrps between £10.99 and £15.99. The wines are available from regional distributors Madison Drinks, Hayward Bros and L’Art du Vin.

Co-op scores Platinum PlusThe Co-op has been awarded Platinum Plus status in the 2009 Corporate Responsibility Index, published this week by Business in the Community. The award recognises commercial business strategy underpinned by thinking around long-term sustainability. Heineken UK and Marks & Spencer received Platinum status for companies which show corporate responsibility is embedded in their strategies and incentive structures.

Benchmark scheme for fizz?A benchmarking scheme for sparkling wine has been launched. An independent team of fizz experts will provide producers with sensory and technical assessments of their wines, plus reports on packaging, perceptions of value for money and suitability for the UK marketplace. Former Marks & Spencer winemaker Sam Harrop MW is a co-chairman of the scheme with wine writer Jamie Goode, Direct Wines’ head of winemaking Jean-Marc Sauboua and winemaker John Worontschak.