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Duty-Free Cigarette Ban Is On The Cards

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Fume pas, si vous plait

Cigarettes will disappear from Britain's duty free shops after a period of being sold from "behind closed doors" as the Government tightens anti-smoking laws.

Mark Riches, chief executive of World Duty Free, Britain's biggest airport shopping chain, expects to set up closed-off areas for cigarette sales from 2013, in which the brands won't be on display. The company aims to replace its most profitable product ahead of an expected total ban.

"We're not kidding ourselves that we'll have the business forever," Mr Riches said. While such a move is not imminent, "that's the direction we're heading in," he added.

Such a development would come as a blow to smokers as cigarettes cost £2.50 for a packet of 20 from tax-free shops compared with £6 on the high street. The new Government is expected to review Labour's plans for a ban on displaying tobacco in all shops from 2013. Mr Riches said his business will take a total ban in its stride. Airport shopping has already been transformed "out of all recognition" since the end of duty free limits within Europe in 1999, he said.

At that time tobacco was by far the biggest seller. Now World Duty Free's (WDF) biggest business is beauty products, which account for around 50pc of sales. Among its most popular products are Gucci aftershave and Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle perfume.

WDF's cigarette sales are falling by around 5pc a year, while the company's sales rose 6.4pc last year and 8.7pc in the first quarter of 2010, with revenues at £126m. WDF has 85 shops in the UK, with a flagship store at London's Heathrow Terminal 5 which takes in £100m a year.

After working for Marks & Spencer and Asprey, Mr Riches became the director of retail at Heathrow in 1999, when the shopping part of the airport business was still owned by BAA, Since then, Mr Riches has steered his shops through an industry which has suffered the September 11 attacks, SARS, bird flu, swine flu, numerous strikes, attempted terrorist attacks, increased security and the ensuing queues, liquids restrictions and the fallout of an erupting Icelandic volcano.

"Don't go into airport retailing if you want a quiet life," he said. The company, which is now owned by Italian-listed Autogrill, always banks on several unforeseen disruptions when it does its annual planning, he says.

Last year's sales increase came in spite of a 6pc fall in passenger numbers, and Mr Riches does not expect a rise in passengers coming through UK airports this year either. But he does expect further growth in his own business this year, although the second quarter is likely to miss its targets after the "disaster" of the volcanic ash shutdown.

Airports were closed for six and a half days, but sales were affected for longer than that because angry travellers "were not in the mood to shop," he says, and it took a number of days for normal airline service to resume.

WDF also loses £250,000 every day British Airways is on strike, he said. Mr Riches is optimistic about the prospects for the business. Revenue grew last year despite the worst economic slump since the 1930s and a 6pc fewer people travelling through Britain's airports.

"We don't sell things people need, we sell things people want," Mr Riches said. "We felt the recessionary pressure like everyone else but we were quick to offer promotions and exclusive products that aren't available on the high street. I don't think we're operating in a bubble."

He admits the strength of the euro and the dollar against the pound last year gave the business an enormous boost because it made tax-free goods a bargain for European and US shoppers. But now the euro is weakening, the company is prepared to change its offers. When the pound was at a high of close to two-for-one against the dollar in 2008, WDF offered dollar prices on some ranges to keep sales going.

The company has also has an enviably high level of information about its customers as they need a boarding card to buy anything in a duty free shop. So WDF has a clear picture of what shoppers from different countries want to buy and can rearrange the products at front of its stores and make sure staff who speak the language are working when flights go out to those destinations.

From Terminal 5, BA's main destinations are the USA, India, China and Nigeria. WDF says Nigerian shoppers favour top-of-the-range perfumes and aftershaves, Chinese travellers choose cigarettes and night cream while Indians are in the market for Scotch and chocolates.

Flying from Heathrow's other terminals and around the UK, low-cost airline customers typically buy champagne and chocolate. But the dream duty free couple, according to the chief executive, is a Norwegian man married to a Japanese woman – because of high taxes on alcohol in Norway and strong demand for designer beauty products in Japan.

I wonder if this will apply to the armed forces as well.

Just another of the perks taken away.

It will start with the duty free, but move on to all 'cheap' vices. You can count on that.

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I wonder if the coalition will repeal any current anti-smoking legislation..There's rumours that they're looking to the repeal fox hunting ban, and they're supposedly all for personal choice & freedom.

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What they need to do is to reduce the price of fags to the price they are in europe. No smoker in the south east and large urban connurbations pays full price, my local newsagent has them under the counter and sells the smuggled ones to people he knows. We must be losing a fortune in tax.

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I wonder if the coalition will repeal any current anti-smoking legislation..There's rumours that they're looking to the repeal fox hunting ban, and they're supposedly all for personal choice & freedom.

They're dying to repeal the hunting act but they've put it on the backburner until the economic mess blows over to avoid being accused of not paying enough attention to the current economic situation.

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What they need to do is to reduce the price of fags to the price they are in europe. No smoker in the south east and large urban connurbations pays full price, my local newsagent has them under the counter and sells the smuggled ones to people he knows. We must be losing a fortune in tax.

Yes they have killed the golden goose . As well as people getting the smuggled ones, the amount of people who have given up is very high. Im sadly still a smoker but many many people i konw who i never dreamed would quit have .

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Forgive me, but who the hell pays £35 for 200 fags at LHR Duty Free? (£25 in the article? Maybe for Mrs Miggins Special Dog-sh!t rolled up in old newspaper, but not for anything Mrs Buzzardo would smoke :))

Why would you do that, when you can either buy them cheaper tax paid abroad (if you're going to bucket 'n' spade land,) or for £10-12 per 200, for the top brands, on the way back from places like Qatar or Kuwait?

You'd have to be a bit of an economically-illiterate div to buy fags "Duty Free" on the way out of the country.

Oh - hang on...... :rolleyes::(

B

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Duty free is a farce. They should scrap the whole bl**dy thing. It might have made some sense when people bought stuff to use onboard ship when they were between tax jurisdictions but now you can't even smoke in an aeroplane, let alone neck a couple of bottles of scotch. Just another gravy train for airport operators.

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Duty free is a farce. They should scrap the whole bl**dy thing. It might have made some sense when people bought stuff to use onboard ship when they were between tax jurisdictions but now you can't even smoke in an aeroplane, let alone neck a couple of bottles of scotch. Just another gravy train for airport operators.

I think it is duty free precisely because you are in between tax jurisdictions when you buy

Airports being international territory etc etc

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I think it is duty free precisely because you are in between tax jurisdictions when you buy

Airports being international territory etc etc

Fair point, technically at least...

But then why are 200 Silk Cut £35 at Heathrow, and £12 in Qatar? Who TF is making all the excess profit on exactly the same ciggies?!

B

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Fair point, technically at least...

But then why are 200 Silk Cut £35 at Heathrow, and £12 in Qatar? Who TF is making all the excess profit on exactly the same ciggies?!

B

Higher systemic costs?

The discount is only for the tax you would pay at purchase - the uk gov and landlords can still charge for getting the things into the duty free shop - rent - transport, tax on transport.

i'm guessing here

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Duty free is a farce. They should scrap the whole bl**dy thing. It might have made some sense when people bought stuff to use onboard ship when they were between tax jurisdictions but now you can't even smoke in an aeroplane, let alone neck a couple of bottles of scotch. Just another gravy train for airport operators.

I wish they would sell you duty free on arrival rather than departure. I dread to think how much extra fuel a 747 needs to burn to carry the weight of 500 bottles of single malt in it, unnecessarily. If you put the duty free shop in between immigration and customs (in the baggage claim area, perhaps), that would remove the expense and danger of having hundreds of litres of a highly flammable liquid in the passenger cabin of an airliner. It would also potentially get round the post-July bomb plot situation whereby you can't buy booze at an overseas airport if you're going to take a connecting flight after arriving at the first EU airport, because it breaches hand luggage rules and there is no opportunity to add it to your checked baggage.

If it's necessary for international law of accounting reasons to actually make the purchase overseas, you could do so and get a voucher for pick-up at your arrival airport, assuming that the same chain has airport stores in multiple countries (which World Duty Free certainly does).

Edited by The Ayatollah Buggeri

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I wish they would sell you duty free on arrival rather than departure.

Err.... Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Stavanger......

(Keep going for yourself, I can only remember these examples from recent experiences, and I can't be ar$ed looking in my diary to find more...)

Most places I've been recently (outside the EU,) do it already. And yes, I know Stavanger and Copenhagen are inside the EU - fvcked if I know what the logic is, and frankly I don't care....

And clearly you can't get a bottle of single malt on the way into Kuwait - but frankly that's part of the charm of going there.

It's a bit like a sw@nky South West London spa week, but you can get some work done while you're there, and the people you meet aren't complete self-obsessed obnoxious c**ts B)

B

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How do you get cheap ciggies inside the UK?

In the south east go to your local corner shop, convince them you are not the police and they will have them under the counter. All walk past the local jobcentre plus with a sign saying will buy cheap fags and you will be inundated.

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I thought that the UK government being taken to court by the EU, over the restrictions over the limits of duty free. They heard about HMRC confiscating vehicles at ports because they couldn't prove that what they were bringing in was for personal consumption. The EU said that the government rules at the time "restricted trade between EU countries"..does anyone know what happened about this supposed court case?

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How do you get cheap ciggies inside the UK?

Stand outside an off licence or pub and ask passers-by if you can buy a cigarette off them. Most people will simply give you one if you are convivial and non-threatening.. A tip - make sure you have only a small amount of money on you in case someobody actualy wants some money - something like 2p

;)

Edited by Stars

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Stand outside an off licence or pub and ask passers-by if you can buy a cigarette off them. Most people will simply give you one if you are convivial and non-threatening.. A tip - make sure you have only a small amount of money on you in case someobody actualy wants some money - something like 2p

;)

Thank you so much. I won't have to pick up fag ends from the pavement anymore and make them into needle-thin roll ups. Ace!

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I think it is duty free precisely because you are in between tax jurisdictions when you buy

Airports being international territory etc etc

In theory, sure. It's still a farce. It's yet another tax-distortion that leads to inefficiencies, and it's still in place because the wealthy travel more and they need their perks. Otherwise they'd have to pay full price like the oiks from housing estates who never get past Bluewater let alone Dover or Heathrow are supposed to. One law for me, another law for you, because some piggies are more equal than others.

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They're dying to repeal the hunting act but they've put it on the backburner until the economic mess blows over to avoid being accused of not paying enough attention to the current economic situation.

Nah, they've put it on the back burner because with a free vote they've absolutely no chance of winning.

tim

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How do you get cheap ciggies inside the UK?

Why not grow your own baccy? Takes a few months, but if you get cracking, you could make enough to see you through the winter :).

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Thank god I gave after a long hard battle last year.. not a puff since thank god... I was one who did always pay full price and while price wasn't the final motivator for me it certainly helped clinch it... personally fags have done so much damage to me I wouldn't wish them on anyone... but I'd still love to smoke one now !

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Thank god I gave after a long hard battle last year.. not a puff since thank god... I was one who did always pay full price and while price wasn't the final motivator for me it certainly helped clinch it... personally fags have done so much damage to me I wouldn't wish them on anyone... but I'd still love to smoke one now !

and here lies the truth. Some people like smoking - shock horror.

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I thought that the UK government being taken to court by the EU, over the restrictions over the limits of duty free. They heard about HMRC confiscating vehicles at ports because they couldn't prove that what they were bringing in was for personal consumption. The EU said that the government rules at the time "restricted trade between EU countries"..does anyone know what happened about this supposed court case?

You're confusing cigs bought in the EU and "duty free," which you can buy when travelling to or from a country outside the EU. Limit is 200.

The 'guideline' when travelling from the EU is 3200 cigs and 3kg of rolling tobacco. It's not a limit, but you may get a lot of questioning asking you to justify having more than this. If its for personal consumption, there is no limit in theory.

On pricing, a poster was right, the airports are coining it in. In Gibraltar, UK brand cigs are about £15 for 200. UK airports charge nearly double this.

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and here lies the truth. Some people like smoking - shock horror.

You are correct those who haven't done it, can't grasp how enjoyable it is I suspect.... much the same as those who enjoy it, like I did for many years, struggle to grasp quite how damaging it is and to give up accordingly.

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  • 189 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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