Smokes signal more customers

05 September, 2008

Q I'm a non-smoker and would quite like to run an off-licence which concentrates purely on drinks and a few snacks and confectionery items, without selling tobacco. Is this commercial suicide?

A If you're intending to position yourself as an upmarket specialist wine shop, possibly not, but if you want to trade as a mainstream, mid-market off-licence, you may have a problem.

According to

Harris International Marketing's SOLTrack research among shoppers, 51% of people who shop at off-licences are smokers, and 19% said that cigarettes were the main items they intended to buy. Just as importantly, smokers spend £6.33 more over the course of a week than non-smokers. That's about 33%.

When asked whether they would shop elsewhere for alcohol if the off-licence they frequented did not sell

tobacco, 13% of smokers said they would.

So by all means take a moral stand if you must - but bear in mind it's a decision which will almost certainly restrict profits and customer numbers, and you'll probably get sick to the back teeth of explaining to people that you don't sell cigarettes.




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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