Sainsbury's to stop selling fireworks

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Some have called for firework sales to be banned to protect pets and the vulnerable

Sainsbury's has become the first major supermarket to stop selling fireworks at its 2,300 stores across the UK.

The company said it made the decision following a regular yearly review of all its products.

Last year, a petition to ban the public sale of fireworks to protect animals, children and people with a phobia attracted more than 300,000 signatures.

Pet-owners welcomed Sainsbury's decision with many tweeting that other supermarkets should follow suit.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's declined to detail why the supermarket will no longer sell fireworks, stating that it was commercially sensitive.

Tesco and Asda said they would continue to sell fireworks.

Catherine Shuttleworth, chief executive and founder of Savvy Marketing, also said that selling fireworks was "a really expensive way of doing retail in supermarkets".

She said: "When you go and buy your fireworks, obviously they are not on a shelf anywhere in the store. They tend to be in a glass cabinet that's locked up and a member of staff has to go and unlock that cabinet every single time you want to buy fireworks."

Media caption,
Fireworks: How do they work and how are they made?

She also said the customer's age has to be checked because it is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under 18. In addition, the supermarket cannot send back any unsold products to the distributor, "and they are quite dangerous to keep in the back of shops, which are busy places".

A petition last year calling for a ban, which gained 307,897 signatures, said that fireworks "injure thousands of people every year" and "cause damage to buildings, vehicles, [and] emergency vehicles".

In response, the government said it "takes the issue of safety of fireworks very seriously. Legislation is in place to control their sale, use and misuse. We have no plans to change legislation".

One healthcare professional said on Twitter: "Just came here to say a huge thank you and praise to Sainsbury's for the decision to not sell fireworks this year. It is not just the animals who suffer but anyone who is unwell or has a condition like autism."

Scottish National Party MP Alison Thewliss tweeted: "Really pleased to see Sainsbury's have taken the responsible decision to stop selling fireworks. I hope other retailers follow suit."

A recent consultation in Scotland over the sale of fireworks to the public found that there was support for tougher controls on the selling and use of the products.

Of the 16,000 people who responded, 94% wanted tighter controls on the sale of fireworks and 87% supported an outright ban on the sale of fireworks.

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