Pricewatch: 1 February, 2019 - Premium cigarettes

Analysis

The tobacco market has been volatile over the past few years, with the introduction of new legislation regarding pack sizes and advertising, new value-for-money brands hitting the scene and growing interest in next-generation products.

Retailers say sales of premium cigarettes have declined as a result, with shoppers turning to cheaper brands, rolling tobacco and vapes.

While little can be done in regard to challenging legislation, retailers can maintain sales of premium cigarettes by having full availability so they’re ready when a shopper comes in looking for a premium brand.

The table shows the most popular premium brand is Sterling, with the average price across Kingsize Dual 20, Kingsize and Superkings being higher at independent shops compared to multiples. If you are a unsure which premium brand to invest in, Sterling seems like a good place to start. 

Supermarkets

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Profit checker

Price Price distribution %

Price checker

PRODUCT AVERAGE PRICE BOOKER RRP HIGH STREET C-STORE IN LAKE DISTRICT TOURIST TOWN HIGH STREET C-STORE IN LARGE ESSEX TOWN SUBURBAN COVENTRY CONVENIENCE STORE VILLAGE POST OFFICE AND SHOP IN NORTH YORKSHIRE C-STORE IN BATH CITY CENTRE TOWN CENTRE OFF LICENCE AND SHOP IN LARGE SOUTH WALES TOWN
STERLING KINGSIZE DUAL 20 £9.66 £9.45 £9.70 £10.99 £9.45 £9.75 £10.11 £9.55
L&B KINGSIZE ORIGINAL SILVER 20 £10.20 £10.00 £10.25 £11.35 £10.00 £10.25 £10.61 £10.10
MARLBORO KINGSIZE GOLD 20 £11.52 £11.15 £11.40 £12.34 £11.15 £11.40 £12.13 £11.35
JPS KINGSIZE REAL BLUE 20 £9.18 £9.00 £9.25 £10.45 - £9.25 £9.82 £9.10
MAYFAIR KINGSIZE 20 £10.27 £10.10 £10.30 £11.25 £10.10 £10.35 £11.19 £10.20
STERLING KINGSIZE 20 £9.29 £9.10 £9.70 £10.45 £9.10 £9.35 £10.25 £9.20
B&H KINGSIZE GOLD 20 £11.77 £11.59 £11.80 £12.27 £11.59 £11.85 £12.37 £11.69
STERLING SUPERKINGS 20 £9.29 £9.10 £9.70 £10.35 £9.10 £9.35 £10.18 £9.20
SILK CUT KINGSIZE PURPLE 20 £11.76 £11.59 £11.80 £13.24 £11.59 £11.85 £12.24 £11.69
B&H KINGSIZE SILVER 20 £10.86 £10.60 £11.70 £11.85 £10.60 £10.85 £11.73 £10.70
WINDSOR BLUE SUPERKINGS REAL BLUE 20 £9.18 £9.00 £9.25 - £9.00 - - £9.10
RICHMOND KINGSIZE REAL BLUE 20 £10.20 £10.25 £11.35 £10.00 £10.25 £10.40 £10.10
Data supplied by
Data supplied by

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Drive your profits

Eddie Poole  Avatar

Eddie Poole

Poole’s Supervalu

Location: Moira, Northern Ireland

Size: 2,000sq ft

Type: Residential

Top Tip
Stick to RRP across premium cigarettes where you can afford to do so
Since EUTPD II came into effect, sales of premium cigarettes have declined – people come in and tend to just ask for whatever is the cheapest, or best value for money. Before the legislation, sales of premium lines were doing quite well – the bestselling brand used to be Benson & Hedges. Despite declining sales, we still keep a range of premium cigarettes and sell them at the RRP. However, I have noticed that fewer people are now smoking in our area, which has also contributed to the overall drop in sales.
Anish Parekh Avatar

Anish Parekh

Londis Broadoak and Post Office

Location: Ashton-under-Lyne

Size: 1,000sq ft

Type: Town

Top Tip
Learn what your customers are looking for and be aware of what the competition is doing
Recently, someone came in for Benson & Hedges Gold and I felt nostalgic because it reminded me of five-to-10 years ago when that brand was really popular because it was cheap. Now, it is rare that someone comes in for a premium line, but you still have to stock them just in case. We sell premium cigarettes slightly above RRP, and find that people are happy to pay a little more – it’s the power of the brand – which is a slight benefit for us. Sales normally dip in January when people are trying to be healthier, but will always pick up again.
Ian Lewis Avatar

Ian Lewis

Spar Crescent Stores

Location: Witney, Oxon

Size: 1,800sq ft

Type: Residential

Top Tip
Make sure you have a full range available at all times
As part of agreements we have with suppliers, we stock some lines at RRP to benefit from deals and reward schemes, whereby we can collect credit on pre-paid cards. In premium cigarettes, Benson & Hedges Blue Kingsize is a bestseller, and while the odd person may ask for a specific brand, most people just want whatever is cheapest, so I show them the price list – our wholesaler runs a programme to keep us updated on prices. I find that more people are now vaping – especially the younger generation.
Terry Mulkerns  Avatar

Terry Mulkerns

Mulkerns Eurospar

Location: Newry, Northern Ireland

Size: 8,500sq ft

Type: Residential

Top Tip
As you can’t market cigarettes, it’s about making sure you have full availability
We have three pricing categories across cigarettes and, because we’re a Spar, we get help with managing prices. When it comes to premium cigarettes, the bestselling brands are Regal and Benson & Hedges. After EUTPD II, sales of premium lines declined and there was a shift to more value-for-money brands – mainly because of plain packaging. Also, in the past five years, there have been so many new value-for-money brands entering the market and taking a share of the pie, so competition is very high.

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