More retailers are considering replacing their tobacco gantries amid growth in categories such as vaping and calls for increased support from suppliers.  

Bimal Patel, of Londis Ferme Park Road, in Haringey, told RN his gantry contract is due to expire within the next two years. “Tobacco is a declining market and I am considering moving my gantry and replacing it with products such as craft alcohol or vaping.

“These categories are growing in popularity and it only makes sense to highlight them more. We are getting fewer reps into the store nowadays and seeing less support and advice overall.”

Martin Ward, of Cowpen Lane News in Billingham, added he has also considered the removal of his gantry. “My contract is near expiration and whether we will renew the five-year contract is another matter. Customers buy tobacco regardless of whether they see a gantry or not. My weekly sales have been steady at £3,500, despite the gantry not being directly behind the till.”

The comments come as Londis brand director Martin Swadling announced he is to recommend new and refitted Londis stores to replace tobacco gantries with backlit displays for
products such as vaping.

Joe Williams, of Spar The Village Shop & Post Office in Hook Norton, added: “I use an automated gantry which is half the size of a traditional one. You are not in a contract which dictates the products you buy. The cost of tobacco is already quite high.”

However, others warned the removal of gantries could increase illicit trade.

Bob Sykes, of Denmore Premier Food & Wine Stores in Rhyl, said: “I will probably renew my contract when it expires. Customers will go elsewhere if they see you don’t have a gantry. There is a lot of illicit trade in the area and this could increase it.”

Read more: Londis recommends stores replace tobacco gantries