The most noticeable aspect in the market this year was that there was actually a 6% growth in sales of tobacco in our Scottish stores - despite the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces imposed north of the border earlier this year.

This shows that smokers are changing their buying patterns, which is boosting growth throughout the convenience sector, and we believe the same is likely to happen in England when a similar ban comes into effect in 2007.

There is no change in the pattern of consumers trading down to budget brands and we have noticed that Spar own-label cigarette sales are holding up and benefiting from the ban in Scotland.

Budget cigarette newcomers, such as Windsor Blue and Sterling, seemed to be pitched more at the multiples and there has been no big investment in these brands in our sector yet.

We have also seen an increase in sales of rolling paper this year, although this is not reflected in sales of rolling tobacco.

We haven't seen any unusual trends in cigar-buying in the past year, but I expect that people who used to smoke brands such as Café Crème in pubs will be more likely to buy these from convenience stores in the future, so we will be keeping an eye on this.

Looking ahead, we are discussing how a ban on smoking in public places might affect the sector in England, and we are anticipating what might happen if pictorial warnings are enforced on tobacco products in the UK, as they are in other nations. We expect legislation on this shortly.