Researchers have called for a complete ban on incentive payments from tobacco suppliers to retailers.

The suggestion comes from a report by Scottish universities detailing techniques tobacco manufacturers use to influence convenience store customers since the display ban in 2015.

It said tactics included reps incentivising retailers for picking up a different product to the tobacco brand requested to convert customers, and increasing the number of incentives given to retailers.

Scottish Grocers Federation head of public affairs John Lee criticised the report for not recognising retailer compliance. “The strong impression we have from this report is that the authors have not visited any stores and are unaware of the most recent policy and legislative developments.”

imperialRetailer views: What are your thoughts on incentives and how would a ban impact your store?

“If any shops are stupid enough to follow tactics like picking up the wrong pack, then surely the customer will think they’re not listening to them or that they’re not competent enough to serve correctly.

“This is a prime example of how not to offer an incentive and make the industry seem like penny pinchers. Work to grow and make a category thrive as a whole or you’re no use to us as soon as the next rep steps through the door.”
Adam Hogwood, Budgens of Broadstairs, Kent

“We were previously part of an incentive scheme, but it has come to an end. It is a hit to a retailer’s bottom line not to have that little bit put on the card every now and then, especially as the end of price-marked packs pushed some of our customers towards multiples.

“I don’t think banning tobacco incentives will have the impact they think it would as it doesn’t really influence shopper behaviour at all.”
Dee Goberdhan, Albany Road Post Office, Cardiff

“Let’s target retailers again. It’s just like when they changed Scottish alcohol licensing law with the aim of scaremongering and penalising retailers because they think we’re to blame for drinking culture and the underage having access to drink.

“Fast forward more than five years and they realise the main problem is people buying drink for children, which we receive no help with.”
Natalie Lightfoot, Londis Solo Convenience, Baillieston, Glasgow