Independent retailers can make their e-cigarette range deliver more pounds per square metre than any other category by becoming a specialist, according to NFRN Commercial.

Its Shoplink service is helping retailers looking to change direction or create a point of difference to offset increasing costs by creating a dedicated in-store section. It is working with e-cigarette specialist Vaporized, whose products are currently only available in its own stores and franchises, to offer a store-within-a-store or a behind-the-counter gantry solution for the first time.

“We see all independent retailers being a destination for this type of product,” said Carolyn Kirkland, Shoplink head of trading. “It’s not enough to just stock one brand now because of the category’s growth. The margin for these products is much higher than standard convenience margins so allows retailers to grow their bottom line.”

The full franchise offer costs around £50,000 and the return on investment is less than a year with a net margin of around 35%. The gantry replacement solution costs £5,000, and the store-within-a-store concept will launch next year.

It comes a month after research by convenience data expert EDFM showed sales more than double for those stocking four brands and quadruples for stores with six or more brands.

“Innovation in the market is massive so it’s an opportunity for retailers looking to change direction. It will deliver more pounds per square metre than any other category,” said Wayne Harrand, Shoplink sales director.

Vaporized, which launched nearly five years ago, is projected to turnover £40m this year and have more than 40 stores and 100 franchises mainly in Scotland and the north. It also provides training for retailers who stock its brands.

“Product knowledge is what will maximise sales and return,” said Mr Harrand.