Tuesday 30 March 2021 7:31 am

Imperial Brands holds firm as Covid changes tobacco consumer patterns

British tobacco giant Imperial Brands today said the pandemic has impacted consumer buying patterns, but the firm remains on track for a strong start to the year.

The company, presenting its pre-close trading update, reported a continuation of growth in the UK, US and Spain which offset declines in Germany and Australia.

Imperial Brands said it expected group net revenue growth of at least one per cent in the first half.

“Overall tobacco volumes are in line with expectations although Covid-19 continues to affect consumer buying patterns across different channels and markets,” the company said in a statement this morning.

The firm also stressed that it is moving further into the vapour market.

“Our preparations for market trials in vapour and heated tobacco later this year are on track.”

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould stressed today its new chief executive Stefan Bomhard’s first opportunity to indicate how the tobacco giant plans to implement a new five-year strategy, which was rolled out in January.

The plans include pushing productivity gains up to £160m a year and more marketing for key brands such as JPS, Gauloises, Winston and Davidoff.