Booker CEO Charles Wilson’s prediction that the supermarket tobacco display ban would contribute to a £1bn sales boost for indies has not been realised, a survey carried out for The Grocer has revealed.
Almost three-quarters (71%) of the 250 indies surveyed by CheethamBell JWT said there had been no impact on tobacco sales since the display ban began in April. Just 26% said sales had risen since the ban was brought in, and 3% said sales had declined.
“Consumers were not going to walk away from their normal place of shopping for tobacco purely because of the display ban,” said Sanjeev Vadhera, business development director at North East Convenience Stores. “Breaking habitual shopping consumption is not straightforward and I think the perceived benefit was overstated.”
The increase in tobacco duty appears to have had a greater impact on smokers’ shopping habits, with 79% of shopkeepers reporting that their customers are trading down as a result of duty hikes.