Imperial tobacco has announced its strategy for returning reps to providing in store support for independent retailers in the UK.

A spokesperson for the tobacco firm told betterRetailing: “In line with the UK Prime Minister’s request that individuals who can’t work from home should go to work, the Imperial Field Force who live in England have now begun to resume physical calls to stores.”

Imperial Tobacco said the focus of returning reps would be “supporting the independent trade to ensure they are legally compliant for the Menthol and Crushball ban. Now the ban is in place, our reps will continue to focus on helping them navigate any challenges they are facing and ensure continued supply of our products to their stores.”

This will include accepting the return of non-compliant menthol and non-track and trace stock.

Asked what steps will be taken to keep retailers safe, the company responded: “As a business we’re doing everything reasonably practicable to minimise the risks. We are closely following the advice set out by the Department for Business. The government guidance on working safely emphasises the importance of social distancing and taking steps to ensure appropriate hygiene, and we are working closely with our sales reps and retailers on this.”

Commenting further on how retailers can help keep its field team safe, the spokesperson added: “The health and welfare of our employees and business partners is our top priority. We have been really impressed by the steps already taken by retailers, including installation of screens to protect both themselves and their customers, and only ask for them to follow best practice in their stores during rep visits.”

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