Implementation date approaches and, for many retailers, changes to tobacco retailing regulations that will apply when EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD2) comes into force next month are not without their challenges.
Jeremy Blackburn, head of communications at JTI suggested that as the changes come into effect, retailers should keep up communication with their representatives about stock availability and range to ensure they remain on the right side of the law, while keeping customers satisfied.
“Maintaining range and availability at all times is of vital importance to ensure that retailers become a destination store of choice as existing adult smokers and vapers will expect their brands to be readily available,” he said.
“If retailers haven’t already, JTI recommends for them to speak to their customers about the changes to avoid confusion and help ease the transition.”
Blackburn said that when retailers get to work after the implementation of TPD2, “gantries will look very different”, and so the firm is encouraging them to think about those changes now so they are prepared come May.
“Right now, retailers need to focus on training staff, being prepared and getting their tobacco range right. By doing this they will ensure a strong foundation for the rest of their business to grow,” he said.
Rob Taylor, communications executive at Imperial Tobacco also said the transition to TPD2 will bring challenges for retailers.
We recommend retailers prioritise the sale of branded packs to ensure compliance in May.
With only one month remaining before the full transition to standardised packs, Imperial Tobacco is advising retailers to prioritise any remaining branded stock to ensure they are selling through in time for the deadline as well as focusing on stock room management so that they can navigate the new format.
“The transition to standardised packaging is well under way and the majority of gantries are populated with the new format. The manufacturing deadline of 20th May 2016 means the market has naturally shifted to the new format as the branded stock ran, which we communicated would happen from January 2017 onwards,” said Taylor.
“There does still remain some branded stock in some formats out there, but these numbers are shrinking.
“We have recommended to retailers over the past four months to prioritise the sale of branded packs to ensure they are compliant with the new regulations by 20th May 2017 and this remains key throughout April and into May.”