Imperial combats credit crunch with new cigarette range

LONDON - Imperial Tobacco is launching a new economy bracket cigarette brand to keep sales up during harder economic times.

The tobacco brand is launching a JPS Silver range targeting the economy price sector. The cigarettes will be priced at around £4.25 per packet, compared with the £4.99 price tag on Lambert & Butler, and £4.69 on Richmond Superkings, both of which are Imperial brands.

JPS Silver will be promoted with extensive trade advertising and direct mail to the trade, online support and a high-profile presence at exhibitions.

Imperial said that the economy price cigarette sector would continue to grow in the tough economic climate.

Iain Watkins, trade communications manager at Imperial, said: "Increasing numbers of adult smokers are moving down through the cigarette price sectors into the economy sector.

"Imperial Tobacco constantly monitors the market and a lengthy research process has told us the market is now ready for the new JPS 'Silver' range. It is perfectly positioned to meet the ever-evolving preferences of the UK adult smoker."

Gallaher, which owns brands such as Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut, is planning a 7% price cut on its budget brand, Sterling, which will bring it to £4.20 a pack.