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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 12:37 GMT
Troubled waters for shopkeepers
bottles of water on a factor conveyor belt
Shopkeepers will need a separate fridge for 'non-Coca Cola drinks'
Shopkeepers in Derbyshire say Coca Cola has ordered them to stop selling Buxton Natural Mineral water.

The water used to be distributed by the multi-national corporation and used to be sold from branded fridges supplied free to stores.

But Coca Cola representatives say they can no longer sell the local water from the cabinets.

Derbyshire MPs are now calling for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the policy change.

Disappointed

Coca Cola says retailers enter into a partnership, which means they can rent or buy fridges instead, to give them more freedom over what they stock.

Buxton Water says it is disappointed that shoppers in Derbyshire could be denied the chance of buying a local product.

A spokesman for the company said: "We are disappointed that Coca Cola would, in the town of Buxton, remove Buxton Water from our local retailers' fridges.

"Since Roman times, Buxton Water has been at the very heart of the town and it is an important part of its history and heritage.

"To strip such an area of what the local people consider to be part of their heritage seems short-sighted and commercially damaging for all concerned."

In a statement issued by the drinks giant, which now produces its own bottled water, the company said: "Our policy in no way limits the retailer from having other coolers or other soft drink products within the outlet."


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