Independents achieved their highest share of cigarette sales for over a decade in 2003, new research has revealed.
According to new data from Imperial Tobacco, last year the channel took its highest share of UK cigarette sales since 1988. Share of sales was up 6.7% to 57%, giving independent retailers £5.7bn of the £10.7bn category.
In contrast, multiple grocers’ share of cigarettes dropped 3.1% to 24.6% with c-store chains seeing a 5.3% dip to 17.9%. Independents also increased their dominance in the other key tobacco sectors such as roll-your-own, which grew 2.55% to 41.2% of the market.
Chris Dale, Imperial’s national account manager for independents, said that independents were winning customers from competitors because of their ability to “adapt quickly to local markets and offer a more personalised service. Smokers recognise the independent sector represents a credible alternative to the multiple offering.”