Philip Morris is taking back its own route to market by employing a field sales force for the first time in more than 25 years.
- The roll-out kicked off in London this month
- It will be complete by the end of 2015
- Ireland will not be affected by the changes
From this month, the manufacturer began rolling out its own team of reps, working with field-marketing agency Cosine. The roll-out, which starts in London and will affect the whole of the UK, will gradually replace the current agreement with Imperial Tobacco Limited (ITL), although ITL’s distribution, logistics and general trade sales support of Philip Morris’ products will continue as normal until December 31, 2015.
The new approach aims to boost the performance of Philip Morris’ brands, help retailers make more money from tobacco and enable the company to launch a non-factory-made cigarette product later this year.
“The imminent dark market and challenging trading environment has required us to review our strategy,” said Martin Inkster, Philip Morris managing director for UK and Ireland.
“There’s an opportunity for us as a genuine category adviser to retailers, helping them grow their business as well as ours. We’ll also be giving retailers regulatory advice.”
The roll-out follows a pilot scheme in Manchester, which improved business in the 500 stores that took part and grew the company’s market share.
“The UK is a great opportunity for tobacco business,” added Jerry Margolis, director of sales. “This will really allow us to work with retailers.”