Last week, ACS chief executive James Lowman and public affairs director Shane Brennan talked me through the nine areas where they will be providing members with Assured Advice this year. 

The area we talked about most was tobacco. Their display ban guide outlines the dos and don’ts that will ensure retailers remain legally compliant when gantries go dark next April and will be followed by every trading standards department.

This week, JTI confirmed to RN it will be converting 13,800 gantries by April and Imperial Tobacco is understood to be doing a similar number.

This leaves around 12,000 independent retailers converting gantries themselves, a figure that tallies with RN’s industry survey from February. James, Shane and I agreed that curtains over gantries will be a far more common sight than professional but costly alternatives.

My question to the ACS was would these 12,000 retailers – the ones who most need advice on ensuring compliance – actually seek it out and follow it?

[pull_quote_right]The industry won’t be judged on the tens of thousands of stores that are legally compliant, but the handful whose homemade solutions aren’t[/pull_quote_right]

The industry won’t be judged on the tens of thousands of stores that are legally compliant, but the handful whose homemade solutions aren’t.

They are the stores that will be picked up by the press and the ones the industry needs to engage with most.

With just seven months to go, communication is key. Retailers need to be committed to the category and managing it well. It will only take a few bad examples to reflect badly on the entire industry.

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