Imperial Brands has attributed a drop in the market share held by its tobacco brands on its decision to increase its wholesale and retail prices.

Discussing Imperial’s drop to 41.6% market share in the UK, company chief executive Alison Cooper revealed: “We have recently increased prices which accounts for the recent share decline.”

Despite the overall drop, the company’s half-year results released on May 8 claimed “Players, Gold Leaf and Riverstone all grew share,” and added that its UK tobacco sales had increased driven largely by the total UK tobacco market value ‘returning to growth.’

The manufacturer also hailed the success of its major vaping brand myblu, saying it achieved “good growth following its launch last year, supported by growing distribution in key accounts.” The results described the UK as a ‘priority market’ for its vaping products and explained: “In the UK, we launched the pod category just over a year ago – and it’s this category that’s the primary driver of growth in what is a relatively mature vapour market, albeit mainly in open systems currently. We’ve established myblu as the number two vape brand in the retail channel.”

A presentation made to investors this week revealed the company’s plans for its vaping products for the second half of the year and beyond, these included limited edition versions of the myblu capsule device, new pod designs, a focus on vaping store and online sales, ‘3D flavour trials’ and the launch of an internet connected vaping device.

The company said its profits were “sensitive” to different rates of tax in different countries, and described the UK’s tobacco taxes as “lower”. While admitting that its contingency Brexit stockpiling had harmed the wider company’s cash flow, it said its contingency planning for the collapse of Palmer & Harvey had “ensured the on-going supply to retail customers was unaffected.”

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