Convenience stores and independent forecourts should take advantage of the pending tobacco display ban in England and the window of opportunity it provides them over multiple rivals, according to Jon Dunman, vice president of petrol and convenience at Torex.
“While the Government’s forthcoming ban on the display of tobacco products is definitely a worry for convenience retailers who rely on the income generated by these sales, there are still plenty of positive opportunities for independent retailers and symbol groups,” he says.
“The regulations come into force for supermarkets on 2 April 2012, while smaller retailers have until 6 April 2015 before they need to remove cigarettes from display. This gives convenience retailers a full three years grace period to take advantage of a decrease in competition from the major players.
“It’s essential independent retailers make the most of this window of opportunity while they can. They can do this by keeping on top of stock levels, using stock management and ordering functions in POS systems, for example, to make sure there’s always enough variety and quantity of items to satisfy demand, and ensure customers are aware of the product range that they stock.
“Beyond this, convenience store retailers should remember it is not just the tobacco that customers buy – it is the basket of goods that often accompanies a tobacco purchase that makes a real difference. Keeping up stocks of other important products that are purchased at the same time such as newspapers is therefore essential.
“This really is the Government giving small retailers a lifeline to build their trade over a three-year period and should be seen as a ‘glass half full’ opportunity.”