Retailers should focus on cigarette stick price and stock up on bigger packs to remain competitive.

That’s the message from retailers in the UK and Ireland, where stores are already witnessing the impact of tobacco legislation and changes the industry faces as a result.

Although Royals has long been available in bigger packs, British American Tobacco (BAT) is rolling out further brands in 23 and 24-packs.

Irish retailer Joe Sweeney, of News Centre in Dublin, who stocks Players in packs of 20, 23, 25 and 28, said the biggest packs are the most popular.

“I find the bigger the pack, the bigger the price point and it seems to be a good selling point with customers,” he said. “If you go for the 28- pack, you’re saving 5c per stick compared to a 20-pack.

“Customers are going for the most economical packs because we had another 50c increase on packs two weeks ago.”

Peter Robinson, of Robinson Retail in Pembroke, said customers are already seeking the cheapest cigarette packs. His store currently only stocks up to 20, but he plans to offer the bigger packs when they are available because he believes there is a demand for them.

David Worsfold, of Farrants in Cobham, Surrey, began stocking 23-packs a few weeks ago, but said it causes product confusion for customers. “If everyone’s got 20s its easier to compare prices,” he said.

He believes it “unnecessarily complicates the market” which in turn makes it more difficult for retailers to sell the product.

Palmer & Harvey added it has seen manufacturers move towards products which offer more value for money through larger pack formats.