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Break Free from Tobacco Dependency

Whether we like it or not the measures the government is taking to bear down on tobacco consumption are working. If any proof were needed just look at Booker: the industry leader's latest trading figures showing tobacco sales well into negative territory. They cited the display ban as being the primary cause. I know from my sources that other major wholesalers are experiencing a similar decline. The introduction of plain packs, twenty-stick counts and removal of price-marks will further drive down sales.

The time has come for the industry to stop depending on tobacco for footfall generation and income streams. Wholesalers and small retailers still have time to re-engineer their ranges to compensate for lost tobacco revenues & earnings. They should be scrutinising every linear foot of display space to ensure that the stocked range is returning a commercial profit per foot. They need to be focusing on healthier ranges in line with consumer trends and include more 'wellness' and 'good for you' products. They need to be getting out of cigarette gantry contracts as soon as possible and using that valuable display space for more exciting and profitable lines.

Let's face it, cigarettes can be sold just as effectively from under the counter. For sure falling tobacco sales are a serious challenge but I'm clear that they offer a fantastic opportunity for the industry.

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