They'll always buy fags ... or will they?

17 October, 2008

A quiet morning in the shop (a sign of things to come?) so I'm taking this opportunity to


the Tobacco Market Analysis

(Oct 3).

In these credit crunch days, it's good to see tobacco sales are holding out. Nearly 47 billion cigarettes are sold a year, with sales generating £11.6 billion turnover for retailers. That's the kind

of figures I like reading!

Cigarette sales might have dropped 6% since the ban on smoking in public places came into force, but in these tough economic times, I think we're going to see that trend reversing. Customers might stop buying expensive Champagne and wine,

but they'll sure as hell continue to

buy cigarettes.

In my shop, fags are the only thing that I'm actually able to sell easily. Champagne is impossible to flog (who wants something sparkling when your job is in jeopardy and your house value is falling?), wine is almost as hard to sell as people watch their bank balances with eagle eyes,

and beer is just about affordable but people seem less willing to spend a fiver on something that's not strictly necessary.

My only worry now is that the new pictorial health warnings will put people off buying cigarettes. An image of a shrivelled-up lung is hardly going to make you want to pick up a 20-pack. Why does the government insist

on making it even harder for us retailers to make an honest living?

Brian, Cheltenham

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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