Iceland is planning to delist the Virgin Cola range from its 780 stores just as the soft drinks supplier embarks on a heavyweight distribution and advertising drive.
Rival soft drink supplier Pepsi is lined up to fill the shelf space left by Virgin, according to trade sources. Both Pepsi and Iceland refuse to comment on whether this is the case.
A spokeswoman for Iceland says: “It is company policy not to discuss trading relations.” But a buyer at the company confirms the Virgin Cola range will be going.
The full Virgin range – comprising Cola, Diet Cola, Lips Orange and Lips Lemon & Lime – is on sale in Tesco (which originally had exclusive rights to it), Asda, the Co-op, Somerfield, Morrisons and Woolworths.
Lips Orange, and Lips Lemon & Lime are stocked in Iceland, but their fate is unknown.
This month Virgin announced details of 5m TV ad campaign (MW May 8).
Virgin has a 3.7 per cent volume share of the UK take-home cola market, compared with Pepsi’s 20 per cent, according to Nielsen figures.
News Analysis, page 19