In March 2015, Parliament voted into the law the requirements for standardised packaging on all Tobacco products. From May 2016, all Tobacco products will be sold in plain, non-branded packaging, featuring a consistent design across all brands with prominent health warnings. The Retail Data Partnership (TRDP) have considered the decline in smoking rates and uncovered insights to help retailers copy with this substantial change.
There is no denying that smoking is bad for your health, which is why Parliament introduced standardised packaging to protect future generations from harm. Whether or not you support this, as a retailer you are probably more concerned with the effect it may have on Tobacco sales.
Now you only make a small profit of 72 pence on every packet of 20 cigarettes that you sell.
John McLurey, an independent newsagent and councillor in Gateshead, said that he:
Ann Milton MP, a former Shadow Health Minister has said:
UK Tobacco companies are preparing to launch one of the biggest ever legal claims against the British Government for losses as a result of the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.
Taxpayers could be forced to pay the Tobacco industry up to £11 billion for trademark losses.
This has ignited a debate between the UK Tobacco industry and the plain packaging lobby, who have pushed strongly for these changes to come into law.
Profit margins are bigger on premium brands, which is why the big cigarette companies are worth billions. Non-branded cigarettes would encourage smokers to buy cheaper brands which have tighter margins.
Data from RDP indicates that in stores where Tobacco is sold, it makes up 26% of all sales, but with the historic decline in Tobacco sales and more recent competition from Vapes and e-Cigarettes, it’s worth trying to increase your profit in other categories.
Our data also indicates that from the day that display ban was introduced (April 6th 2015), sales have increased by over 3%. This suggests that plain packaging might not make that much difference to your Tobacco sales.
However we have some ideas to help maintain your profits.
If you make 20 to 30% on food and drink products, why not stock more snack items, frozen food and soft drinks?
Imaginative merchandising is also a great way to get your customers attention. According to Convenience Store Decisions:
To make sure your customers are coming into your store for items other than cigarettes, you need to make sure you’re promoting other categories effectively.