Branded tobacco still being sold as deadline looms

Cigarettes in plain packaging

With very little time left until the Tobacco Sell-Through period expires for branded packs tomorrow (May 20), data from The Retail Data Partnership shows that up to 20% of packs sold in convenience stores are still branded.

For the second week in May:

  • Of the 882,000+ Factory Made Cigarette packs, 23.27% were sold in non-compliant, branded packs (down from 27.97% the previous week).
  • Of the 127,000+ Roll Your Own Tobacco pouches, 10.56% were sold in non-compliant, branded packs (down from 11.94% the previous week).
  • Only 4.65% of retailers exclusively sold compliant, non-branded packs (up from 3.67%) the previous week.

While the numbers have been steadily falling, there is still a way to go before retailers are ready for the change in legislation. With a day to go, it looks likely that some retailers may be tempted to sell branded packs after the deadline in a misguided effort to clear stock.

To reiterate, sales of these products will be prohibited and enforced by Trading Standards on May 20. Retailers run the risk of prosecution, as well as retribution from their Tobacco gantry provider.