Retailers who maintained choice within their tobacco range have better weathered the impact of plain packaging legislation, according to research. 

A study of 2,500 retailers exclusive to RN, by its data partner EDFM, found volume sales across the tobacco range fell overall by 13% in December compared to the same month last year. 

There has also been a fall in the range of cigarettes sold, with the average number of brands sold falling from 40 in 2016 to 34 in December 2017.

However, shops offering greater choice were more successful than the others with volume falling by less than 1% for these retailers.

Martin Ward, of Cowpen Lane News in Cleveland, said: “We have kept 97% of the same range, having dropped two lines since the plain packaging legislation was introduced – the ones we dropped were the slow sellers.”

Jason Birks, of Moscis in County Durham, said: “Customer demand helps me choose what to stock. 

“I know many people who have increased their range in store, but for me, I have people coming in asking for whatever is the cheapest. People want the best value for money so this is what I provide.”