Cutting a dash in the RYO sector Zig-Zag (GB) plc Carrington Business Park Carrington Manchester M31 4DD Tel: 0161 776 4990 Fax: 0161 776 4379 E-mail: KEY PERSONNEL Commercial director Andrew Armstrong Sales director Mike Love General manager Charles Hill KEY BRANDS Rolling papers · Zig-Zag Green cut corner rolling papers · Zig-Zag Classic Red square corner rolling papers · Zig-Zag King Size · Zig-Zag Slim King Size · Zig-Zag Blue Doubles thin paper/100 pack · Zig-Zag Luxury Doubles · Zig-Zag Liquorice rolling papers Filters · Zig-Zag Filters slim filters in re-sealable bag · Zig-Zag Filters standard size Accessories · Zig-Zag Rolling Machine regular size · Zig-Zag Rolling Machine King size · Zig-Zag Tubes · Zig-Zag Tube machines Tobacco might help build trade in independents, but with margins lower than for most grocery products, cigarette papers and filters are bigger profit generators, according to Zig-Zag (UK). It claims that sales of £70 per week of cigarette papers and accessories can achieve more profit than £400 worth of cigarettes. And it points to the growing trend towards hand rolling, particularly among women, and the meteoric rise in popularity of the company's slim filters over the past two years, as evidence that the market is sustainable and growing. The company has pioneered an attention grabbing range of designs, which have brought vibrancy and colour to the fixture, backed by a competitive pricing strategy. "Some retailers are finding that their overall sales of rolling papers have increased when they stock Zig-Zag," says commercial director Andrew Armstrong. "In one large multiple, where Zig-Zag was stocked exclusively, sales increased by over 40% compared to the previous year, when two leading brands were stocked," says Armstrong, who suggests that the most profitable formula for grocery shops is to stock Zig-Zag alone, or Zig-Zag plus the market leader. The company's policy of offering a better deal to retailers, in terms of cash margin and profit on return, is also bearing fruit ­ over the last three years, the company has grown faster than the RYO market in the UK, its success powered by a sales team with more than 80 years collective experience in the trade. Headed by Mike Love, previously sales director for Rizla, it includes nine staff with a track record among international tobacco companies. As smuggling takes its toll on the duty paid tobacco trade, Zig-Zag suggests that one way to combat contraband is to increase the turnover on cigarette papers and accessories, especially filters. "Whereas tobacco prices are lower in Europe, cigarette papers are not," says Armstrong. "And smokers have finally realised that the cost of a filter is 25% of the cost of the tobacco left in a cigarette when it is thrown away. "Zig-Zag filters are packed in a re-sealable polythene bag, which fits easily into a pocket or a handbag, without causing the wasteful spillage often associated with boxes made of board. Moreover, from a retailer's point of view, Zig-Zag slim filters are packed in display outers of 34 bags, the larger format stimulating sales everywhere." Armstrong puts Zig-Zag UK's success down to a premium product and the attention the company pays to retailer share. "We believe no company makes a finer quality of paper, as regards the adjusted burning speed, and tastelessness," says Armstrong. "Moreover, the paper burns to a fine, clear, odourless ash, without the acrid smell of chemicals often found in other papers. The outstanding quality of the gum also means Zig-Zag papers stick better than any other." The company is the sole importer and distributor of Zig-Zag rolling papers and tobacco accessories for Bolore Technologies of France ­ the second largest manufacturer of rolling papers in the world with the largest share of the market in the USA, where it is the brand leader, and France. It also has a strong market position in Australia and South Africa. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}