Plain tobacco labels causing retailer confusion

18th October 2012 - Fine Cut

New research has found that reverting from current tobacco labels to standardised packaging could cost retailers tens of millions of pounds, reports packagingnews.co.uk.

The Rural Shops Alliance (RSA), which has teamed up with Visuality, monitored transactions across four stores over a two week period in order to find a difference between normal packaging and standardised packaging.

Overall, total transaction time for the standardised labels doubled as staff looked to 'retrieve the right product'. According to the RSA, it is estimated the cost of extra staff time for stores would be an additional £37 million.

The Department of Health has been urged to seriously consider the results of the study by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, commented on the figures: "This study clearly shows that retailers will suffer if standardised packaging for tobacco products is introduced.

"This research is the most robust evidence on transaction times to be produced anywhere in the world and the Department of Health should carefully consider this before deciding to introduce yet more costly and disruptive regulatory burdens on local shops," he added.

The RSA isn't the only association against the change in packaging. Marketingweek.co.uk reports that Benson & Hedges owner Japan Tobacco International believes the packs will lead to an increased in 'organised crime' that will end up hurting the tax payer.

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