Last December, Tobacco Giant Imperial Brands reported an increase in revenue from cigarettes, due to increased smoking rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following month, Imperial said its heat-not-burn (HnB) product Pulze, had received positive initial feedback.
Imperial’s preparation for market trials in heated tobacco later in 2021 is “on track”.
A pre-close trading update forecast adjusted operating profit for the six months leading to the 31st of March, up by at least 1% at constant currency. This will be achieved thanks to expected “significantly reduced losses” in the company’s next-generation portfolio.
Despite pausing the expansion of its heated products in Japan and other markets, Imperial said that its preparation for market trials in heated tobacco later in 2021 is “on track”, however it has not disclosed which markets these trials will take place in.
In 2020 Imperial’s next-generation portfolio declined by 27%
Meanwhile, revenue from Imperial’s next-generation portfolio declined by 27% in 2020, largely because of its investment to support the launch of Pulze in Asia. Due to this the company had announced a “more prudent approach” in its business model.
On the other hand, the tobacco giant has reported an increase in revenue from cigarettes, due to increased smoking rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. The maker of Gauloises and West cigarettes has readjusted its full-year revenue forecast accordingly, with a spokesman for the firm saying that consumers seem to be spending more on cigarettes.
Of course, these figures are not surprising and are precisely why countless public health experts had argued that closing vape shops whilst leaving regular cigarettes available for sale, would spell disaster. A UK paper published on BJGP Open had in fact warned that the outbreak of COVID-19 risked increasing smoking rates amongst current and former smokers.
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