Unaffiliated independent retailers are the primary targets of a new Department of Health (DoH) campaign to help ready stores for the tobacco display ban in less than three months’ time.

The DoH is also seeking to boost awareness and understanding among stores whose gantry alterations are not being funded by the tobacco manufacturers.

An advertorial campaign is being run across key trade titles including this issue of Convenience Store, and the DoH has also produced a Q&A which is being circulated at wholesalers and posted on the Business Companion website.

It is also working closely with trade organisations such as the Association of Convenience Stores, a spokeswoman told Convenience Store.

She also stressed that “no retailer will be penalised on 6 April” when the ban on open displays comes into force.

“Trading Standards will work with retailers over a reasonable amount of time to help them become compliant if they are not already. Small retailers have had an extra two years to give them time to do this and learn from experiences of larger stores - so really we think they should mostly already be aware and prepared. If not, there are many cheap and easy ways for small shops who can’t afford expensive alterations to become compliant,” she added.

About 25% of UK convenience stores are expected to implement their own solutions, new research from CJ Retail Solutions suggests. John Mitchell of Spar Ceres in Cupar is one of them. He has decided to relocate his tobacco range to draws under the counter. “I’d rather use the space on the back wall for high-margin products such as batteries,” he said.

JTI said it was making “excellent progress” on its commitment to cover up more than 13,500 independent gantries ahead of the deadline.

“We are also working closely with retailers to reinforce the ‘be prepared’ message, providing tips on category management, along with details of the legislation,” head of communications Jeremy Blackburn said.

For more info click here