Retailers and wholesalers are increasingly rethinking their tobacco ranges, while price remains a key factor in staying competitive, one year on from EUTPD II and the UK’s standardised packaging law coming into effect.
The legislation saw the introduction of plain packaging on cigarettes and a ban on 10-packs; a 30g minimum weight was also introduced for roll-your-own tobacco products.
Nitin Mandalia, a buyer at London’s Chetan Wholesalers, said the wholesaler now sells packets in outers of five, as opposed to the 10 in which they come. This has increased sales of tobacco by 20%.
“Selling smaller outers makes it more affordable for retailers. This has resulted in increased sales, because retailers are now looking for smaller quantities to buy,” he said.
However, John Hanna, of Smokemart in Brighton, believes he has lost 40% of his total tobacco trade since the new regulations were introduced.
“Before the legislation, we used to stock all the premium specialised tobacco products, but now trade has gone down, we have had to cut back and streamline,” he said.
Andrew Miller, head of field sales at Imperial Tobacco, said: “Rising prices have overall contributed to a decrease in tobacco sales, as many adult smokers continue to seek maximum value in terms of their tobacco purchases.”
Andy Stevens, head of sales at JTI, added that price is key for consumers. “To remain competitive, retailers should sell at RRP or below.”
According to research by the Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the market is declining 10% year-on-year.