Denmark-based Salling Group, which includes the Netto, føtex and Bilka banners, sold 20 million fewer cigarettes in 2018, after the retailer took the decision to put tobacco out of sight in its stores.
Data collected from 500 stores indicates that the decline in tobacco sales was most pronounced in stores frequented by mainly younger consumers, such as those near colleges and youth education centres.
The retailer said that the move proves that young people buy fewer cigarettes when stores keep tobacco products hidden. According to health industry figures, around 40 young people start smoking every day in Denmark, and the proportion of 16-24 year olds that smoke is increasing.
Netto, føtex and Bilka commenced the initiative to keep tobacco products out of sight in July 2018.
"We have a clear ambition in Salling Group that fewer young people start smoking," said Per Bank, the chief executive of Salling Group, adding that while the group's initiative "costs money on the bottom line, we are fine with that because we are helping to make a difference."
Around 7,500 outlets across Denmark currently stock tobacco products, and Salling Group has called on other operators to follow its lead and voluntarily keep tobacco out of sight in stores.
"If we are to succeed in creating a smoke-free generation, everyone must participate," Bank added.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine