There has been no change in the pattern of consumers trading down to budget brands, which has been a trend that has continued over the past few years.

We have noticed that Spar own-label cigarette sales are holding up and actually benefiting from the ban in Scotland. We recorded a 6% growth in sales of tobacco in our Scottish stores - despite the ban on smoking in public spaces imposed north of the border last year. This shows how 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 this year.

We also saw an increase in sales of rolling paper last year, although this is not reflected in our sales of rolling tobacco. Looking ahead, we are anticipating what might happen when pictorial warnings are enforced on tobacco products in the UK, as they are in other nations, and we are preparing for the ban in public places.

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