Legislation could mean end of road for tobacco retailers

ACS warns thousands will stop selling cigarettes if display ban goes ahead

Tobacco retailers are braced for legislation which could prove at best costly - and at worst stop them

selling the product .

Thousands of retailers would face "considerable operational and equipment costs" if the government went ahead with plans to ban the display of cigarettes and tobacco, according to the Association of Convenience Stores.

And stores will be forced to stop selling tobacco if the government

introduces a positive licensing system, because there is not enough money in it,

says the ACS.

Spokesman Shane Brennan said


would once again "bear the burden" of

legislation on smoking.

Brennan said: "It has huge implications in terms of equipment costs and operational costs. We need to make a clear case of what those will be when the government launches its consultation."

The government is considering both a positive licensing system, in which retailers would

need a licence

to sell tobacco, and a negative system, where they would lose the right to sell tobacco if they were caught repeatedly selling to under-18s. MPs

prefer the negative option.

Ian Loftus, director of The Bottle in York, said: "I think people would definitely give up selling cigarettes, especially smaller shops who don't make any money. There is no money in tobacco for retailers - we sell it like stamps, to get people to come in and hope they will buy something else as well.

"It is a bit like sex shop licences - ­something we used to be involved in. There are a lot of porn shops where people just couldn't afford the licences so they ended up closing down. That could definitely happen to cigarettes as well."

"It is just the government trying to find another way of taxing us," said Denise Miles, of West Sussex off-licence Clarksons of Selsey. "I have

had two

people come into this off-licence

and when I

refused them they said: 'Do you realise it is easier to buy a line of coke in this village than it is to buy cigarettes or alcohol?'."

Dave Brown, of Rock Bottom in Cowbridge, said: "If you are considered responsible enough

for an alcohol licence it should


you are responsible enough

for a tobacco licence."

For more on tobacco trends, see feature, page 35.

In Brief

Jump starts new role

Sophie Jump will replace Barry Sutton as chief executive of the International Wine Clubs Association when he retires. Jump,

director of wine event management firm Taste-in and of marketing company Jump Start, said it was a privilege to take over from Sutton, who has been with the association since 1997.

One-day wine courses

Plumpton College in East Sussex is running one-day wine courses to teach the basics of wine production. Practical activities will change depending on when the course is taken during the year. For more information go to plumpton.ac.uk or call 01273 890454.

Second Benevolent Triathlon

The second annual Benevolent Triathlon will take place in Keynes Country Park, near Cirencester, on Sept 7. Consisting of a 750m open water swim, 20km cycle ride and 5km run, last year's event raised £8,000 for the charity. Competitors can enter as individuals doing all three disciplines, or in teams of three doing one sport each. For more information and to register email eleanorperry@thebenevolent.org.uk.

Talisker sponsoring race series

Isle of Skye distillery Talisker is to sponsor yacht racing event the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series. Spectators will be able to sample Talisker's range of single malts at whisky tastings taking place shore side, and Taslisker will also be providing prizes for competitons during the race on May 23-26 in the West Coast village of Tarbert on Loch Fyne.

New US wines for Seckford

Seckford Agencies is launching a Californian range from Sotto Family Wines in Lodi. Consisting of a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 Chardonnay/Viognier blend, 2007 Pinot Grigio/Napa Gamay rosé, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon/Carignan blend and 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel, the range will retail for £6.75 and will debut at the London Wine Fair. Seckford has also released its new duty paid list, with price rises taking effect from this week.

Web warning about BWTC

Wine investors have been warned to tread carefully after the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company was cited on the Investdrinks.org website for apparent filing irregularities. Its Borehamwood offices have been vacated.

Blueprint boosts sales

GM Wine Merchant in Milton Keynes has

increased sales by 30%

following a Federation of Wholesale Distributors Take Home Blueprint makeover. FWD Blueprint recently joined forces with Bestway in an initiative to help customers of the cash and carry chain across the country maximise drin ks sales through better range planning.

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