Russia's biggest retail outlets have placed restrictions on the sale of imported alcohol, according to local reports.

The move by the country's big four retail chains - Ramstor, Paterson, Perekrestok and Sedmoy Continent - is in response to the Russian government's failure to implement a recently-adopted law on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages.

In January, the Russian government passed legislation on a new duty regime, which required all imported alcohol to be sold with new excise duty stamps. Under the law, bottles with old duty stamps can be brought into Russia until 1 April but must be sold by 1 July.

However, importers in Russia are yet to receive the new duty stamps and retailers fear that they will not be able to sell any product marked with old stamps after 1 April, Russian business daily Kommersant reported yesterday (16 March).

As a consequence, the big four retailers have either placed limits on or completely suspended the sale of imported alcohol on their stores.

A spokesman for Diageo in Russia declined to comment on the situation while a representative for Pernod Ricard in Russia failed to return requests for comment when contacted by just-drinks.