Retailers should demonstrate the same expertise as specialist vaping stores to maximise sales in the category, RN has been told. 

United Wholesale managing director Asim Sarwar said his business has generated more than £1m in vaping sales over the past year, with specialist knowledge driving the interest. “Our retailers have the option of having a full vape store within their shops and the top performers are making more than £800 per week with 45% margins. 

“United Wholesale’s three depots have dedicated vape rooms educating retailers on trends and legislation. This is key because you don’t want specialist vape shops to have products months before convenience stores. The day vape stores sell the latest products is the day our retailers have them.”

Kevin Kirkbride, sales director of Dee Bee Wholesale, added: “Some of the best performing retailers don’t just lob vaping products onto a counter. They offer a full vaping solution while education and expertise is vital.”

Commenting on future trends, Mr Sarwar said he expects to see vaping stores becoming an integral part of convenience stores.

According to JTI head of marketing Stephane Berset, the UK vaping market has grown by 9.3% over the past two years to £160m. “Vape shops present a challenge to independent retailers, but by having the right knowledge retailers can make sure customers continue to shop at their stores,” he said.

Jason Birks, of Moscis Convenience Store in County Durham, generates £2,000 a week in sales from the standalone vape shop in his store. He told RN: “We have a separate 2m vaping area with a range of 100 devices and 300 flavours. We generate 40% margins, but you really need to know your products. Customers won’t come back and you’ll gain a bad reputation if you’re not an expert.”