Sales of cigars in supermarkets have fallen “dramatically” since the introduction of the tobacco display ban, according to leading manufacturer Scandinavian Tobacco Group UK (STGUK).

Volumes in supermarkets have fallen from 210 million units in March last year to 190 million in March 2013, while remaining steady in small stores, according to the company.

In the market as a whole, volume has declined by 6% and value by 1.6%, but convenience multiples, symbols and independents have all increased value sales on a MAT basis.

The value for money segment continues to grow, and imported styles are increasing market share at the expense of traditional British brands, according to STGUK.

Head of marketing Alan Graham advised c-stores to use the visibility allowed by the display ban exemption to their advantage, by stocking products aligned to the changing marketplace.

He said: “Our message is to keep stocking new products, because without this activity the decline in the market would be even greater.”