Nisa retailers Jamie and Anish Keshwara have joined the growing number of independent retailers fitting automated tobacco gantries ahead of the tobacco display ban on 6 April.

The innovative dark market solution has been installed at their busy town centre store in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, where speed of service is key.

Supplied by Navarra Retail Systems, in partnership with MSP epos systems, it is 100% dark market-compliant, and would also be of great benefit should plain packaging be given the go-ahead, Jamie told Convenience Store.

Linked to the store’s existing epos system, the gantry allows staff to serve customers their brands of choice at the press of a button, with packs taking just one second to be dispensed.

A prompt on the till system also reminds staff to check for ID before packs are dispensed.

“Not only is the gantry display ban compliant and much more secure than sliding doors or other solutions, it also allows us full stock control,” Jamie added.

A 1.5m automated gantry costs in the region of £5,000, but there are lease finance options available for around £25 a week, according to head of new business Hugh Walker.

“We are also currently working on some more budget solutions as we getting lots of calls from independent retailers who have been dropped by the tobacco manufacturers,” he added.

The automated gantries can be fitted with media screens and even mounted with shelving for electronic cigarettes.

Navarra Retail Systems is currently fitting around 10 automated gantries a week in England, predominantly in independent symbol stores.