Smokes signal more customers

05 September, 2008

Q I'm a non-smoker and would quite like to run an off-licence which concentrates purely on drinks and a few snacks and confectionery items, without selling tobacco. Is this commercial suicide?

A If you're intending to position yourself as an upmarket specialist wine shop, possibly not, but if you want to trade as a mainstream, mid-market off-licence, you may have a problem.

According to

Harris International Marketing's SOLTrack research among shoppers, 51% of people who shop at off-licences are smokers, and 19% said that cigarettes were the main items they intended to buy. Just as importantly, smokers spend £6.33 more over the course of a week than non-smokers. That's about 33%.

When asked whether they would shop elsewhere for alcohol if the off-licence they frequented did not sell

tobacco, 13% of smokers said they would.

So by all means take a moral stand if you must - but bear in mind it's a decision which will almost certainly restrict profits and customer numbers, and you'll probably get sick to the back teeth of explaining to people that you don't sell cigarettes.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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