Imperial Tobacco today said it sold more cigarettes in the UK than a year ago as smokers looked for cheaper brands – bucking the trend worldwide.
The world’s fourth biggest cigarette maker said economic conditions and illicit trade impacted total volumes, which declined 2.9% to 345.5 billion in the year to September 30.
This “white stick equivalent” figure takes into account an increase in fine cut tobacco sales.
In the UK, the producer of Lambert & Butler cigarettes, Rizla roll-up papers and Drum fine-cut tobacco, saw a slight increase in cigarette volumes to 21.1 billion, up from 20.8 billion in the previous year.
Bristol-based Imperial said UK consumers were turning to cheaper economy brands, which also led to a 13% increase in fine-cut tobacco volumes to 5,050 tonnes.
Despite overall falling volumes, price increases saw Imperial turn in a 10% rise in pre-tax profits to £2.5bn (€2.87bn) and a 3% rise in net revenues to £7.1bn (€8.1bn).