The response of retailers to the tobacco retail display ban has been remarkable, meeting the challenge head-on with minimal disruption, reckons Andrew Miller, head of independent retail at Player’s, Lambert & Butler and Golden Virginia brand owner Imperial Tobacco.
“Establishing retailer best practice in terms of ranging, merchandising and availability remains the true key to success,” he said.
“To achieve this, we concentrated on helping retailers manage on-shelf availability through effective stock management, while training staff to keep an eye on stock levels and sales data. We also provide retailers with bespoke planograms to make the
process of merchandising
and refilling shelves more efficient.
“With the doors on it’s vital that, when a customer asks for a product, staff know exactly where to find it.”
From a commercial point of view, despite the challenging circumstances, the firm’s main brands and new products are doing well, he said.
Its Carlton cigarette range is, says the firm, the UK’s number one sub-economy cigarette brand and has recently seen the launch of GV Smooth Another of its sub-economy brands, Player’s, has recently added Crushball King Size 18s, with an RRP of £5.99, to its portfolio. And L&B Blue Superkings 10s with an RRP of £3.78, is its lowest-priced L&B cigarettes product to date.
Premium and sub-premium cigarettes still sell significant amounts and Miller argued that higher than standard margins provided by brands like Davidoff, Embassy, Regal, and Lambert & Butler make them must-stocks.
“Currently around 45% of retail sales of the roll-your-own market in the UK are 12.5g or below. We expect that trend to continue,” Miller said.
JPS RYO 9g, with an RRP of £3.12, launched last year. Since April, pouches of JPS RYO have included papers.
And GV Smooth is available in 8g handy packs – with an RRP of £3.00 – and 12.5g, 25g and 50g pack sizes and offers margins of between 11.4% and 11.9%, he said.