marlborough cigarettes

A fifth of independent retailers are still completely unprepared for the tobacco display ban due to come into force on 1 April.

That is the view of tobacco giant Philip Morris, which this week brought forward a planned refresh of its Marlboro brand to enable both retailers and smokers to familiarise themselves with the new branding before the UK market goes completely dark in eight weeks’ time.

Philip Morris MD for UK & Ireland Martin Inkster suggested many retailers risked ignoring the ban at their peril. “I think some guys are simply hoping it all goes away,” he said.

Tobacco suppliers Imperial Tobacco and JTI own large numbers of retailers’ tobacco gantries and are replacing these with compliant solutions, but they are not replacing all retailers’ fixtures.

Philip Morris UK & Ireland sales director Gerry Margolis said many retailers could be mistakenly waiting for one of the big suppliers to provide a solution for them. “My advice is don’t wait until the last minute to start measuring and ordering solutions,” he said. “These guys that do the fittings might be very busy.”