This month, SalesOut has reviewed tobacco sales to support decisions in this important category for independent retailers.

The recent good weather and the World Cup have had a positive impact on tobacco through the independent channel. The category grew 11% in the last 52 weeks and 5.6% in the last 13 weeks, compared to the independent sector as a whole, which grew 5.7% in the 52 weeks to July 9, 2010.

And it’s the budget brands that are the main engines for this growth. Robert Moore, insights manager at SalesOut, comments: “It would appear that the growth of new budget cigarette brands is holding up the sub-category overall. Budget-conscious smokers are ensuring that Sterling Superking 20s continues to perform well, growing 55.6% year-on-year and 50.9% in the last 13 weeks.

“Even more impressive is the performance of JPS Blue Kingsize 20s, with this relatively new product taking 14th place in terms of sales value for the last 52 weeks and 10th place for the last 13 weeks. Sterling and JPS prove to be the best performing brands year-on-year in terms of growth, showing 83.8% and 149.4% respectively. These brands are driving growth in the low price sector (+17.3%), which in turn is driving growth in the category overall. Conversely, mid and premium price cigarettes have gained very little, growing only 1.1% and 0.2% year-on-year respectively.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly in the current economic climate, roll your own (RYO) tobacco is the fastest growing sub-category, increasing its share of the tobacco market from 8.6% to 9.7% in the last year. Amber Leaf continues to show strong signs of growth (up 37.9%) closing the gap on Golden Virginia (+16.5%). Cutters Choice (up 40.8%) and Gold Leaf (up 49.8%) are the other big performers in this sub-category.

The cigar sub-category is showing a small increase in sales, currently up 0.4%. Café Crème is the major contributor to this (up 4.0%) with the other brands losing sales.


RANK(52w)    PRODUCT                            MAT Change (52w)    MAT Change (13w)

1                       L&B SILVER KINGSIZE 20s               0.2%             -5.3%
2                       MAYFAIR KINGSIZE 20s                     3.4%              -6.0%
3                       RICHMOND KINGSIZE 20s                5.7%             -4.8%
4                       L&B SILVER KINGSIZE 10s              -4.2%             -8.1%
5                       MARLBORO GOLD KINGSIZE 20s    0.6%            -4.7%
6                       RICHMOND SUPERKINGS 20s       -4.6%            -13.3%
7                       B&H GOLD KINGSIZE 20s                -0.2%              -7.0%
8                       MAYFAIR KINGSIZE 10s                      5.0%             -2.1%
9                       B&H SILVER KINGSIZE 20s               30.0%           26.8%
10                    AMBER LEAF 12.5G BOX                     21.9%           13.4%
11                    MAYFAIR SMOOTH KINGSIZE 20s     7.3%             -0.5%
12                    STERLING SUPERKINGS 20s           55.6%           50.9%
13                    RICHMOND KINGSIZE 10s                 10.1%             2.2%
14                    JPS BLUE KINGSIZE 20s                    331.0%        101.4%
15                    STERLING KINGSIZE 20s                   95.1%            60.9%
16                    RICHMOND SUPERKINGS 10s          -6.5%          -10.8%
17                    GOLDEN VIRGINIA 12.5G                      4.7%            -4.6%
18                    SILK CUT PURPLE KINGSIZE 20s      4.3%            -2.3%
19                    GOLDEN VIRGINIA 25G                          9.3%           -4.9%
20                    MARLBORO GOLD KINGSIZE 10s       2.3%           -1.0%

                        CATEGORY TOTAL 
                        MAT 52w LY £1,424m
                        MAT 52w TY £1,581m                               11%            5.6%

The information in this feature is based on data for over 11,000 independent stores, 5,000 of which are symbol stores.