British American Tobacco UK (BAT) has pledged to assist retailers in complying with the tobacco display ban that, for smaller shops, comes into force on April 6, 2015.

BAT wants to help alleviate the “high levels of confusion and anxiety” that exist among small store retailers.

Frank Silva, BAT’s marketing director, said that the decision was made after hearing from BAT trade marketeers and retail press reports that “our competitors are asking retailers to sign up to lengthy contracts which require stores to devote disproportionately large amounts of their gantry space to a few brands”. He asserted this would reduce competition and could reduce service to consumers.

BAT believes that there are retailers that don’t want to sign up to what’s on offer, but don’t want to go it alone, and they aim to provide a solution for them through the MOR£ Trade Partnership programme.

“We’re going to try to provide a solution or advice to help small retailers in our MOR£ programme get through the changes required to comply with the retail display ban. Our experience from other markets around the globe means that we possess a huge amount of expertise about complying with a display ban, and which solutions work best. We can provide advice, guidance, and merchandising options, depending on the type of store.

“Our message to retailers is simple: ‘if you are feeling held over a barrel there is another option — talk to us, we want to help.’ Our goal is simple: we want to help growing retailers grow and grow with them.”

Silva said retailers who would like to work with BAT through the MOR£ Trade Partnership Programme should speak to their dedicated BAT sales representative.