Supermarket tobacco sales ban will hit one-store villages


The ban on cigarette sales in supermarkets may have a major impact on the Netherlands’ village shops which rely on their income from tobacco sales to make a profit, broadcaster NOS said on Monday.

From July 1, supermarkets will no longer be allowed to sell tobacco products and that will hurt the 574 village shops which provide the only services in the country’s smallest municipalities.

Henk Hoeve, owner of the only supermarket in Gasselternijveen, a village with 1850 residents in Drenthe, says the ban will cost him some 20% of his turnover. However, he says, if customers go elsewhere to buy tobacco, they may also do their shopping elsewhere as well.

“And that could mean another 10% down,” he told the broadcaster. Hoeve has opened a separate tobacconist next to his supermarket to offset the decline in earnings. “If you ask me, everyone should stop smoking,” he said. “But we hope this will keep our customers in the village.”

Regional statistics group Locatus says some 4,800 tobacco outlets in supermarkets will go because of the new regulations. So far, some 75 new tobacco specialists have opened in their place.

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