Tobacco manufacturers Imperial Tobacco and JTI are advising retailers to stock up on premium tobacco brands as consumers trade up for Christmas.

Premium cigarette brands sales increase during the weeks before Christmas, peaking the weekend before, so Imperial Tobacco said retailers should keep an eye on changes to their customers’ tobacco preferences and regularly adjust their stock.

Jo Wren, Imperial Tobacco’s head of consumer marketing, said: “While our lower-priced brands such as Player’s Gold Leaf and JPS RYO have seen the biggest volume growth this year, premium brands such as Golden Virginia Classic experience a particular uplift in sales around the festive period.”

Jeremy Blackburn, head of communications at JTI, agreed that sales of premium brands increase over the festive period.

He said: “Retailers who capitalise on this and stock up on brands such as Benson & Hedges, Camel and Silk Cut have an opportunity to maximise profits.

“In the week before Christmas last year, sales of Benson and Hedges Gold and Silk Cut rose by 3.8% and 8.7% respectively in comparison to the previous month.”

Cigars are also in high demand in the week’s before Xmas. Blackburn said retailers should stock the most popular formats, including miniatures, and cater for adult smokers’ growing demand for greater choice.