Issues for cigarettes

Sugro has been working closely with the cigarette companies following the government’s proposed legislation for a tobacco display ban, as has the FWD.

The government’s social conscience has brought about a nanny state resulting in misguided legislation that penalises small businesses. All that trade bodies and small businesses can hope for is to minimise the effect by protesting and lobbying. We won’t eradicate the proposals.

At Sugro we see that the display ban may ultimately impose the dawn of dark marketing. Final implementation could take up to two years and, looking at the effect that this kind of legislation has had on retailers abroad, the net effect in volume terms over time is not particularly substantial. However, it adds transactional time at retail level. With the implementation of dark marketing, therefore, a more efficient solution to non-display stock is required.

We have already commenced trials and experimentation with an automated gantry system linked through to the till, that will prove to be time-efficient for the retailer to obtain stock. It not only adds security to the stock in store but under a new business model it reduces the amount of cash that is absorbed into stock at retail level. It offers the cigarette industry a greater gap fill distribution of range within those stores.

True, the government will not listen to the effect that this, or any other form of legislation, has on small businesses. Yes, the initiatives born from social conscience whispered into the ears of government by those lobbyists who follow nothing but a minority goal, and this blind drive towards their implementation, irrespective of whether it makes sense or not, will always be the game of UK politics.

Lobbying the government to amend proposed legislation to temper the effect it has on our industry is about the best result we can hope to achieve. Within Sugro we seek out the commercial opportunities and solutions that arise from enforced changes and my recommendation to our industry is to follow that model.

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