Independent retailer David Worlsford is now halfway through an ambitious store development project to become “the South East’s leading tobacco retailer.”

Set to open its doors on 10 October, the extended 3,000 sq ft Farrant’s store in Cobham, Surrey, will be ranged by zones, including a 300 sq ft tobacco “shop within a shop”.

Adult smokers who enter the specialist tobacco shop will be able to browse its extensive range of cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars at their leisure. The facility, which will also feature a walk in humidor, will be manned at all times by an experienced member of staff who can engage with customers about tobacco brands and trends.

With more than 50% of the store’s tobacco turnover accounted for by specialist products such as cigars and pipe tobacco, the new store will also feature an underground smoking room for adult cigar enthusiasts. Adult smokers will also be able to buy goods online once a new transactional website is launched.

Impulse goods including confectionery and chilled soft drinks will be merchandised to the front of the store, close to the news and magazines zone which will also feature seating and a hot drinks offer.

A ‘kids’ zone’ will also be constructed to the rear of the store in which all children’s confectionery, including a jelly bean tower, toys and magazines, will be housed.

A “Waitrose-inspired” free coffee offer meanwhile will help to drive loyalty for shoppers who become members of a new “Friends of Farrants” scheme.

“My aim with the new store is to encourage shoppers to spend longer periods of time with us. I want them to linger, to graze the range, to interact with our staff and feel comfortable. It will be all about combining traditional service with modern methods.”

In addition to a traditional counter, the store will also feature a number of “payment pods” which will allow staff to use ipads and configured card machines to take quick and easy payments from shoppers wherever they are in the store.

A sophisticated epos system, combined with wifi throughout, will also enable David and the team to keep track of loyal shoppers and market to them directly. “It will also enable us to track trends and shoppers’ movements in the store,” he added.