The Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) has launched a ‘Gantry Guardians Guide to Tobacco’ project to help small stores prepare themselves for the tobacco display ban in 10 months’ time.

The four-page report, which will be handed out at trade and depot events throughout the year, includes advice on key trends and tips on how to prepare for the dark market.

The guide claims that the year ahead will be “make or break” for many smaller more premium-priced tobacco brands and that there will be “a huge boom in new product development (NPD)” as manufacturers strive to get their products noticed prior to the ban.

In addition to thinking about which dark market solution they will employ, the guide also advises retailers to start thinking about what products will feature on their displays and “whether any of the NPD launched will make the final cut,” it says.

The guide is also underpinned with peer to peer advice from a panel of convenience store retailers including Premier retailer Jack Marwaha who has five stores in Scotland.

Many retailers are “underestimating” the impact that the dark market will have on their stores Jack said.

“Working with STG I’m looking forward to learning how I can ensure that I’m fully prepared for when the display ban arrives and helping other retailers get one step ahead to ensure their sales don’t suffer,” he added.

STG head of marketing Alan Graham said retailers needed to get their “gantries in order sooner rather than later.”

“By undertaking simple steps now, like reviewing their range to ensure they are stocking the right products, as well as thinking about how to conceal their gantry, retailers will be able to get one step ahead of the game and will reduce the chances of falling sales once the dark market hits their store,” he said. 

“Our Gantry Guardians are experiencing the same struggles and challenges as other retailers and so are able to offer first-hand advice on how to prepare. Using our category insights and direct advice from the shop floor with our Gantry Guardians, we will endeavour to support retailers through this transition period and help them get ready for the arrival of the display ban next year.”

Retailers can also get their hands on a copy of the Gantry Guardian’s report by contacting customer services on 020 8731 3400 or emailing