Smoke signals

Gold Leaf tobacco

Tobacco continues to offer bright opportunities for local retailers despite the challenging times.


The UK’s £14bn tobacco category is certainly no stranger to challenges. And given the current cost-of-living crisis and continued illicit trade pressures, 2022 certainly has its fair share of problems.

New Khan Review proposals to raise the minimum age of sale by one year every year in England could also lead to wider consequences for Scottish stores.

However, despite these hurdles, there’s no getting away from the fact that tobacco remains a key category for local stores, driving valuable footfall and sales.

Fortunately for retailers, recent months have also witnessed the birth of an array of new and exciting products to help sales shine, despite the financial squeeze and other pressures, as Imperial Tobacco’s Head of Consumer Marketing Tom Gully explains.

“From an FMC perspective, as demand for value tobacco continues to grow, many consumers are looking for a familiar brand that they know will deliver satisfaction at a low price.

“With this in mind, we recently announced an exciting new launch for our Embassy Signature range to help retailers unlock summer sales amongst adult smokers seeking out top brands,” he says.

Available to buy now until the end of September, Embassy Signature Silver Edition features an RSP of £10.15 per pack of 20s – providing the same value as the original product, but “with an elevated experience”.

Premium product benefits include special reduced-smoke-smell paper, a more modern shaped filter and textured tipping paper.

The pack has also been designed with a resealable ‘fresh protect’ foil feature to maintain product freshness, while the branded trade outer promotes the brand’s modern design with a new luxury embossed sleeve to further enhance the product’s premium positioning.

The lowdown

The tobacco market is seeing a continued movement towards low-priced propositions as consumer demand for value continues to drive tobacco purchasing patterns.

As part of this shift, the lower price tiers now account for the majority of sales, with the sub-economy segment making up 63% share of Factory-Made Cigarettes, and the economy segment accounting for 56% of Roll Your Own tobacco, with these value segments growing at 3% and 5% according to Imperial.