BrandArena: Tobacco Smugglers Blamed For Corner Shop Woes

Friday 6 September 2013

Tobacco Smugglers Blamed For Corner Shop Woes

Lost sales from tobacco smuggling and cross-border shopping has left one in 10 corner shops under threat of closure, a survey revealed.

The Tobacco Retailers' Alliance says its research found 10% of independent retailers were considering shutting their business because of the effect of the cut-price trade.

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Around two in five corner shop owners (38%) have considered reducing their staff as smugglers cash in on higher levels of tax on tobacco in the UK.

The Government should allow tax levels in member countries to "catch up" so that the UK is not a target, according to the alliance, which represents 26,000 independent tobacco sellers.

Scottish spokesman Geoff Barrett, a shopkeeper in Glasgow, said: "These results show that tobacco smuggling is not only a threat to the livelihoods of independent retailers but one that continues to worsen.

"The high levels of tax on tobacco mean a smuggler, selling at half the price I charge, will make more money selling his tobacco here than almost anywhere else in the EU."

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