Cigarettes are the second most common reason for visiting a convenience store, Gallaher’s head of communications, Jeremy Blackburn said, citing HIM 2006 data.
He added: “Cigarette shoppers also visit convenience outlets 21% more than non-cigarette shoppers and spend 56% more than non-cigarette shoppers.”
He said this information was particularly relevant when related to the Government’s proposed scheme to ban any display of products at point of sale.
“As well as the security implications of leaving the shop unobserved while retrieving a product from under the counter, special cabinets would have to be fitted, where there are frequently space limitations, and this cost is borne by the retailer,” he said
Blackburn added that where tobacco was not on display customers would tend to shop towards larger outlets where they would expect a broader choice of product, not wanting to run the risk of queuing only to find their preferred brand was unavailable. “If the smoker’s favourite brand is not in stock one in three will walk out the store,” he said.
These factors would therefore cause small independent retailers to experience a disproportionate loss of sales, and give encouragement to rogue traders and smugglers, he added.