Imperial Tobacco has proposed three letter abbreviations and colour coding on tobacco gantries to help retailers prevent mis-sales, as branding disappears from shelves.

The manufacturer announced the solutions it is looking at rolling out in response to potential confusion caused by plain packaging at the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) annual conference last week.

The first three letters will be displayed on the outer gantry door to differentiate between brands and colour coding will be used to identify different strengths.

The move comes in response to the large number of mistakes made by Australian retailers when similar legislation was implemented in 2012.

Barry Hanit, of Nisa Local in Coatbridge, near Glasgow, backs the plans, adding he doesn’t believe simply stocking packs alphabetically would work.

“It’s ideal for staff,” he said. “We need something to give us a signal as to what packet to pick up and using colours is the easiest way of doing so.”

Stuart Reddish, owner of Baxter’s in Crookes, Sheffield, also supports the proposals. “Obviously they need to do something simple and colour coding is a good idea,” he said.

In a bid to combat customers thinking they’re being ‘ripped off’ Imperial Tobacco recommended introducing in-store price boards.

Sam Holden, a representative from the company, said: “Customers assume the cigarettes have changed, but you need to let them know nothing has changed.”

Imperial will be providing more than nine million cards detailing information on the changes to tobacco products as a result of the legislation. Retailers are set to receive 250 each to hand out to shoppers.