The tobacco display ban came into force this week in Wales for stores over 3000sq ft.
The regulations in Wales are similar to those introduced in England on 6 April 2012, but price lists must be produced in both English and Welsh.
The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) this week recommended that wholesalers in Wales talk to their English contemporaries to find out how they implemented the ban earlier this year, and the operational difficulties they’ve faced since.
“They should also get in touch with local Trading Standards to see how they interpret the requirements of the legislation, and ensure the structural and procedural changes they make comply with this interpretation,” the FWD’s communications director David Visick.
Gayatri Barua-Howe, UK communications manager for Imperial Tobacco added: “Wholesalers in Wales can positively react to the display restrictions; our latest research demonstrates that, like shoppers, tobacco retailers regard availability as the most important factor when choosing where to make their purchase. Location, price, offers, staff attitude and layout were also important factors.”
And Mike Edwards, JTI head of wholesale, symbols and independents added: “Our advice to all depots is to maintain full range and availability at all times. It sounds obvious, but it’s now more important than ever that the basic principals of category management are continuously put into practice.
“It’s crucial that all outlets in Wales affected by the new changes understand and adhere to the restrictions, as the penalties for non-compliance are severe and could include a large fine and even imprisonment.”
The Association of Convenience Stores has also produced comprehensive guidance for Welsh retailers on how to comply with the new law. Scotland also intends to ban tobacco displays but this is subject to separate legislation.
The ACS guide can be found at www.acs.org.uk/tobaccodisplayban