Nicotine Sales Growth Shows Modest Improvement

Goldman Sachs analyst dissects latest 2-week NielsenIQ data
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NEW YORK —Sales growth across the nicotine industry is showing modest improvements. All channel dollar sales for total nicotine during the most recent two-week period were up 0.2% year-over-year, despite pricing holding strong.

That’s according to data from Chicago-based NielsenIQ for sales across convenience stores and all channels for the two weeks ending on Sept. 10. Goldman Sachs, New York, Managing Director Bonnie Herzog analyzed the data in a recent note.

Total nicotine volume pressure eased slightly, Herzog said, down 4.8% year-over-year, with cigarette volume down 5.9% for the two weeks ending on Sept. 10.

Looking at specific companies, total nicotine volume trends improved for Altria on a sequential basis, decelerated for Imperial Brands plc and held stead for British American Tobacco (BAT), she said.

On a three-year stack basis, which takes the average of three years to smooth out volatility, total nicotine volume declines improved across the board and were less negative for companies including Altria, BAT, Imperial Brands plc and Juul, while Swedish Match volume growth remained robust, Herzog said.

The electronic-cigarette category remains under pressure, she added, following uncertainty around the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s marketing denial orders (MDO) against Juul on June 23, which was later suspended on a judicial stay.

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