This means retailers have a restricted view of the products and because the law states that tobacco advertising should only be visible to tobacco buyers, even advertising on the front of the counter is out, meaning promotions have to be kept behind the counter.
In a bid to overcome these issues, Gallaher has worked with Parfetts on a number of initiatives. The biggest of these was a complete makeover of the tobacco counter at the Anfield depot. Lighting was improved and the tobacco was laid out according to a planogram using a category management approach. Light boxes were also introduced to promote the major Gallaher brands.
Other work has included a new design for the order form that retailers hand in, and stands have been developed with Landmark to enable promotions to be set up behind staff at the counters. Sales from the Anfield depot are also boosted by Gallaher's area development representatives, who pick up stock from the depot to sell on to retailers.
Tony Singh, Singh Stores, Skelmersdale
"I would prefer to be able to walk into the tobacco room and help myself rather than use the counter service. If there is a good deal on something I would usually buy, then I will buy more, but if it was something I didn't sell then I would be wary. I don't want to be left with cigarettes that don't sell because it ties up a lot of money."
Eddie Cheetham, Family Stores, Wigan
"The Gallaher rep provides a very good service and I speak to him a lot. Before he visits he always rings to arrange a time that is convenient. He tells me what is on promotion. Our gantries are from Gallaher, with all the Gallaher products in prime position. If we get special deals we always pass them on to our customers."
Ghazanfar Ali, Ali's News, Bootle
"I go to Parfetts because the staff are all very friendly and helpful. Also you can get everything you need from one depot. I visit about four times a week and buy tobacco every time because I don't have a store room. I like the counter service because it saves time. You hand in the form and then you can do the rest of your shopping and pick up your tobacco at the end."
Neil Pattni, Old Oak Service Station, Preston.
"There's not much of a margin on tobacco but it brings in customers who buy other things. Smokers tend to stick to the same brands. When the prices go up after the Budget they switch to the cheapest product, but after a couple of weeks they go back to their old brand. New brands can be slow to take off because the customers don't know they're available."