Business as usual

The key take home from the preparing for the menthol ban panel discussion was ‘business as usual’, and for retailers to maintain a full range of menthol and capsule brands for as long as possible so they can remain competitive.

Alongside Ross Hennessy, JTI’s head of UK sales, were retailers Paresh Vyas of Vyas Convenience Store in Manchester, Atul Sodha of Londis Peverills in Harefield, Arjan Mehr from Londis Supermarket in Bracknell, and Vicky Onions from Vicky’s Convenience Store, Bromsgrove. The session was chaired by Newtrade Media’s news editor, Megan Humphrey.

Public awareness

“Public awareness is very low and people think the ban will never come,” said Mehr, when discussing customer awareness of the ban. “Ideally we need a sign on our gantries to let people know and to give it some authority.”

Hennessy revealed JTI has big plans to ease the transition through the ban.

“We have a team of 40 people working on the menthol ban project. We have a big campaign planned for 2020, where we will provide retailers with a range of guidance that they can share with customers,” he said.

Taking advantage

Meanwhile, Sodha said retailers can use the ban to their advantage.

“There’s always opportunity in changes like this. We’re community retailers because we care about the community, but it also means people look to us for support,” he explained.

“Those who educate the customer and walk them through it will benefit from future purchasing.”

How prepared do you feel for the menthol ban?